Yves Cruchten and Ria Oomen-Ruijten condemn executions in Belarus

Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, and Ria Oomen-Ruijten (Netherlands, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the Political Affairs Committee, have strongly condemned the execution of Syamyon Berazhny and Ihar Hershankou, which allegedly took place secretly in November.

“The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which is no longer acceptable in Europe. In addition, the secrecy surrounding executions in Belarus is a particularly deplorable practice, which causes strong psychological suffering to the family members of the condemned,” they said.

"Syamon Berazhny and Ihar Hershankou were executed despite the request of the United Nations Human Rights Committee not to proceed with the execution during the examination of the case. These executions are all the more disappointing as our last exchanges with the Belarusian authorities on the possible abolition of the death penalty were rather constructive.”

They concluded: “The establishment of a moratorium on executions is simply a matter of political will and does not require extensive institutional reforms. We reiterate our call on the Belarusian authorities to take all necessary measures to stop the use of the death penalty and to introduce a moratorium on executions without delay.”