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

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news