The Council of Europe has reacted to the reports about the recent execution of Belarusian Alyaksandr Zhylnikau, who was sentenced to death in January, 2018.
“We condemn another execution in Belarus, as reported by rights defenders. Death is no justice. We reiterate our call on the authorities to impose a moratorium on the application of death penalty as the first step towards its abolition,” Daniel Holtgen, Spokespeson of CoE Secretary General. said on Twitter.
in December 2015, Vyachaslau Sukharko and Alyaksandr Zhylnikau were found guilty of murdering three people. One more defendant in the case, Alina Shulhanava, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The fate of Vyachaslau Sukharko is unknown at the moment. However, the record shows that the sentences passed on the defendants in the same case are carried out at the same point of time.
Belarus remains the only country in Europe that still applies capital punishment. The West has repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to join a global moratorium as a first step towards the abolition of death penalty.
The exact number of executions in Belarus is unknown, but local human rights defenders and journalists have worked tirelessly to uncover some information about death sentences and executions. According to the Ministry of Justice of Belarus, 245 people were sentenced to death from 1994 to 2014. Human rights NGOs believe that around 400 people have been executed since the country gained its independence in 1991; president Alyaksandr Lukashenka granted a pardon to only one convict.