World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN calls on Belarus for immediate death sentence moratorium

UN expert calls on Belarus for an immediate death sentence moratorium


GENEVA (25 April 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, has urged the Belarusian authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on death sentences and to refrain from carrying out further executions.

Mr. Haraszti’s appeal follows the reported execution of Pavel Sialiun and a Supreme Court ruling last week upholding the death sentence against Eduard Lykau, both convicted for murder. Belarus is the only European country that still retains the death penalty.

“No reports of executions for a considerable time, despite the imposition of several new death sentences, had filled the international community with the hope that Belarus had started a practical moratorium, which would then lead to a legal moratorium, and finally to the abolition of capital punishment,” the human rights expert said.

“The establishment in December 2012 of a parliamentary working group on the death penalty was a promising development,” Mr. Haraszti said, calling on the legislators to begin effective work towards reform.

In a statement* on 9 October 2013, the Special Rapporteur had urged the Government to start an immediate moratorium on executions before the relevant legislation and court system could be reformed and capital punishment removed from the country’s Criminal Code. He also had expressed disappointment that Belarusian courts continued to hand down death sentences to the country’s citizens.

“Another way for Belarus to start reform would be by abiding by the commitments it made to work with UN human rights overview mechanisms. Instead, just as in earlier cases, Mr Sialiun was executed when his appeal is still pending before the UN Human Rights Committee,” he noted.

The human rights expert also expressed concern about the circumstances of Mr. Sialiun’s execution. The date of his execution is not known; his mother was not notified of the decision by the commission for pardon or the date of execution, and only learned from his lawyer that the sentence had been carried out.

The way death sentences are carried in out in Belarus is indeed a source of concern. “Information on death sentences remains limited for relatives and the general public and there is a lack of transparency about persons held on death row, and an inadequate procedure for appeals”, Mr Haraszti added. “Annual statistics on the use of the death penalty are not available, nor are the names of most of those who have been already executed”.

“Those facing the death penalty, and their relatives, are not informed of the scheduled date of execution; following the execution, the relatives are not informed of where the body is buried,” he noted.

Last year, courts in Belarus reportedly sentenced four people to death for murder: Ryhor Yuzepchuk, Pavel Sialiun, Eduard Lykau and Aliaksandr Hrunou. In October 2013, the Supreme Court of Belarus annulled the sentence of Aliaksandr Hrunou, and ruled the case should be reinvestigated. However, after reconsidering the case, the Homel Regional Court reissued the death penalty on 24 December 2013. With regard to Eduard Lykau, the Supreme Court ruling of 17 April 2014 upheld the death sentence pronounced by the Minsk Regional Court in November 2013.
Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:


US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>


Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news