BELARUS: PRESIDENT DENIES PARDON
|President Alexander Lukashenko
October 13, 2009: Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko refused to pardon death row inmate Vasily Yusepchuk, despite local and international pressure.
Yusepchuk, a 30 year old Roma, will be executed by a shot to the head with a pistol, a practise remaining from the Soviet era. He was found guilty of robbing and murdering seven elderly women.
His defence lawyers and Amnesty International allege that he was forced to confess to murders that he did not commit under torture.
In Belarus, the place and time of the execution are state secrets, as is the place where the execution will take place. Even relatives receive no information.
Yusepchukâs mother, 52 year old Varvara, knows that there is no hope of saving her son:
âIs an illiterate gypsy someone of interest?â she asked.
Yusepchuk, born in Ukraine and taken to Belarus at the age of 7, isnât a Belarusian citizen and his mother says that his ethnicity was decisive in his case.
âI donât believe that my son killed anyone, I believe that they found a defenceless and illiterate gypsy and he was framed for these murders.â
âMedical examinations have documented the beatings,â defense lawyer Igor Rabtsevich said. âHow can you execute a man when his case has so many doubts?â (Sources: Apcom, 13/10/2009)