The Supreme Court of Belarus upheld the death sentence imposed in December 2013 on Aliaksandr Hrunou, a Homel resident charged with brutally murdering student Natallia Yemyalyanchykava.
In September, 2012 Mr Hrunou stabbed the young woman 102 times with a knife. A year earlier he served a prison term for battering his mother’s boyfriend which resulted in the man’s death.
According to the Supreme Court’s spokesperson, the 26-year-old Hrunou was told that he could apply to Aliaksandr Lukashenka for a presidential pardon. For 20 years of his rule the head of state has pardoned only one person.
It is noteworthy that Belarus remains the only country in Europe that uses the death penalty. In its statement on December 10, the International Human Rights Day, the EU condemned the death sentences imposed in Belarus in 2013 and urged its government to encourage a broader public discussion of the issue and immediately declare a moratorium on executions.
A high-profile case over the explosion in Minsk metro on April 11, 2011 is to be recalled: in March, 2012 Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau were put to death after being convicted of carrying out a terrorist attack.
The death verdict to the young men delivered by the Supreme Court of Belarus on November, 30, 2011 triggered a mixed reaction in society and drew attention to the death penalty issue once again. Mr Kanavalau might have admitted legality of the judgement and refused to lodge a petition for pardon but Mr Kavaliou denied his participation in organizing three explosions and stated that in the course of investigation he had incriminated himself and Kanavalau acting under pressure of law enforcement officials.