EU issues statement on death sentences in Belarus - only country in Europe still applying capital punishment

The EU has issued a statement saying it is “deeply concerned” that two men facing the death sentence in Belarus do not appear to have had a right to judicial appeal. Dzmitry Kanavalaw and Uladzislaw Kavalyow were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in Belarus on 30 November 2011.
In a statement at the OSCE, the EU said it was deeply worried about reports from independent human rights organisations about possible irregularities relating to the trial of the two men.
“We strongly urge the authorities of Belarus to commute these death sentences on Mr Kanavalaw and Mr Kavalyow immediately,” the statement continues, adding the EU “calls upon Belarus to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition”.
It said the EU opposed the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and called for a global moratorium as a first step towards its universal abolition, in line with resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
“While we are aware of the suffering of the victims of violent crime and their families, we recall that with capital punishment, any miscarriage of justice, from which no legal system is immune, represents an irreversible loss of human life. The EU believes that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity and to the progressive development of human rights,” the statement said.
“The death sentences contradict the stated efforts by the authorities of Belarus to gradually restrict the use of death penalty in Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment.”
The statement added there was no reliable evidence supports the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent to serious crime. (ENPI Info Centre)
Read more
Press release
ENPI Info Centre webpage - Belarus
ENPI Info Centre - Belarus: EU Delegation condemns mistreatment of political prisoners and pending death penalty sentences

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