Death row in Belarus gets new inmate

The Minsk Regional Court has handed down a second death sentence in Belarus since the start of 2016, inflicting the death penalty on a man convicted of multiple murder, theft and other crimes.

 
The Minsk Regional Court has handed down a second death sentence in Belarus since the start of 2016, inflicting the death penalty on a man convicted of multiple murder, theft and other crimes.

The man was sentenced to death on February 15, Tatsyana Tsetsyaratnik, an officer of the Minsk Regional Court, told BelaPAN on Tuesday.

The man, known by his last name’s first letter «Kh», was initially sentenced to life imprisonment, but the prosecution appealed the sentence as too lenient, reported the Vyasna Human Rights Center.

The man is known to be 32 years of age and to have been born in the village of Machulishchy near Minsk.

The man reportedly has previous convictions for theft, robbery and other offenses.

On January 5, the Minsk Regional Court inflicted the death penalty on Henadz Yakavitski, 59, for the brutal murder of his common-law wife.

Two more death row inmates are being kept at Detention Center No. One in Minsk. They are Ivan Kulesh, 28, who was sentenced to death by the Hrodna Regional Court in November 2015 for the murder of three saleswomen, and 21-year-old Syarhey Ivanow, who was sentenced to death by the Homyel Regional Court in March 2015 over the brutal murder of a 19-year-old girl.

The Supreme Court of Belarus is to hear Mr. Yakavitski’s appeal on February 22 and Mr. Kulesh’s appeal on February 26.

In July 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Mr. Ivanow. The man has filed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee.

A total of 406 people are known to have been sentenced to death in the history of independent Belarus. Only one of these convicts was pardoned by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Belarus is the only European and post-Soviet country that still uses the death penalty.

While deciding Monday not to extend restrictive measures against Belarusian officials, including Ayaksandr Lukashenka, in response to positive developments, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union condemned the application of the death penalty in Belarus and urged the Belarusian authorities to impose a moratorium as the first step towards its abolition.