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Death sentence carried out in Belarus: HFHR Open Letter

The HFHR expresses its outrage over the executions of Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov and urges Belarusian authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on the capital punishment.

‘Death penalty is unacceptable, uncivilised and inhuman. Belarus remains the only country in Europe and the post-Soviet zone that still carries out executions. This underscores the urgency to introduce the moratorium and review the country’s relevant legal regulations”, reads the letter.

The HFHR reminds that as a state-party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its First Optional Protocol, the Republic of Belarus has acknowledged the power of UN Human Rights Committee to accept and examine individual petitions concerning violations of civil rights. The execution of Vladislav Kovalyov, which took place pending the Committee’s consideration of his individual communication of a violation of the right to life, is another violation of the international obligations on Belarus’ part and it affects the country’s imagevery negatively.

The Human Rights Committee consistently claimed that maintaining the secrecy of the date of an execution and the place of burial, as well as refusing to transfer the body to the  executed person’s family to be buried, constitutes an intimidation and punishment of the sentenced persons’ family. The Committee noted that such behaviour is intended to evoke a sense of uncertainty and psychological suffering which undoubtedly amounts to inhuman treatment.

‘We call upon the Belarusian authorities to surrender the bodies of the executed men to their families and immediately impose the moratorium on death penalty. Such actions will be recognised as a humanitarian act and an acknowledgement of the universal values’, reads the statement.

The open letter is available under this link.

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