23 March 2009
Stop executions in Belarus

Simulation of execution method used in Belarus - executioner shoots victim in back of head with silenced pistol, February 2009

Belarus is the last country in Europe and in the former Soviet Union that still carries out executions.

All information on the death penalty in Belarus is kept secret. There are no available statistics for the number of executions.

Amnesty International, however, estimates that as many as 400 people may have been executed since Belarus gained its independence in 1991.

At least four people were executed and one more sentenced to death in 2008.

Prisoners on death row are told they will be executed only moments before the sentence is carried out. They are shot in the back of the head. The body is not handed over to the family, who are informed only after the event, and the place of burial is kept secret causing further distress to relatives.

Image showing a simulation of the execution method used in Belarus - the executioner shoots the victim in the back of the head with a silenced Makarov pistol - February 2009 ©Amnesty International

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Stop executions in Belarus

Belarus is the last country in Europe and in the former Soviet Union that is still carrying out executions. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
I urge your government to:

immediately establish a moratorium on all death sentences and executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty as provided by the UN General Assembly resolution 63/168 adopted on 18 December 2008.
commute without delay the sentences of all prisoners currently on death row to terms of imprisonment.

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