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BELARUS: THREE EXECUTIONS FEARED IN AS MANY WEEKS AMID ‘SUDDEN AND SHAMEFUL PURGE’ OF DEATH ROW

November 30, 2016: As many as three of the four men on death row in the Belarusian capital Minsk have been executed in a shameful purge since 5 November, Amnesty International revealed today after confirming with local activists.
“Purging death row of its prisoners is an appalling measure for any country to take. But it is additionally shameful in Belarus, where executions are typically shrouded in secrecy and carried out at a moment’s notice,” said Aisha Jung, Campaigner on Belarus at Amnesty International, who recently returned from Minsk.
“This sudden spike in executions is especially surprising in Belarus, the death penalty’s final frontier in Europe, since many believed the country was on track to eliminate capital punishment for good.” According to the Belarusian NGO Viasna, since 5 November, Siarhei Khmialeuski, Ivan Kulesh and possibly Hyanadz Yakavitski have all been executed with a gunshot to the back of the head.
The fate of the fourth man on death row, Siarhei Vostrykau, hangs in the balance following his death sentence on 19 May. On 29 November, relatives of 31-year-old Siarhei Khmialeuski arrived at the SIZO No.1 prison in Minsk to visit him on death row, only to be informed he had been executed on an unknown date in recent weeks. They had not received letters from him for more than a month, but the prison administration accepted a payment in his name last week. His death sentence had been upheld by the Supreme Court on 6 May, for the murder of at least two people in the capital Minsk. Siarhei Khmialeuski’s execution came swiftly after two others in recent weeks.
Ivan Kulesh, who had his death sentence upheld on 29 March for murder and robbery, was executed on 5 November. Hyanadz Yakavitski, sentenced to death on 5 January for the murder of his partner, is also believed to have been executed this month – his fate will be revealed in the coming days when his daughter attempts to visit him on death row. The sudden string of executions comes after a long hiatus in Belarus.
Before this month, only one person had been executed since November 2014 – Siarhei Ivanou on 18 April 2016. In Belarus, the relatives of death row prisoners are typically not given advance warning or granted a final meeting before an execution takes place. In keeping with Belarusian law, the bodies of the executed are not returned to relatives for burial and their place of burial is not disclosed.
In many cases, families first learn of their relative’s death when they receive a parcel with the loved one’s prison boots and death row uniform. They are required to collect death certificates from the Belarusian authorities. 
Data on the use of the death penalty in Belarus is classified as a state secret. Secrecy around the use of the death penalty constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the condemned person and their family members. “Belarusian authorities take the inherent injustice of the death penalty to appalling extremes. The justice system puts immense psychological strain on the families of those it puts to death,” said Aisha Jung. (Sources: Amnesty International; November 30, 2016)

SAUDI ARABIA: THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH, ONE TO JAIL
SAUDI ARABIA: TWO YEMENI NATIONALS EXECUTED FOR KILLING SAUDI MAN
BANGLADESH: 6 TO WALK GALLOWS FOR KILLING FACTORY WORKER IN NARSINGDI
SUDAN: ARMY OFFICER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR RAPE IN SOUTH DARFUR
MALDIVES: HIGH COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE ON TWO MINORS OVER BOBBY’S MURDER
NIGERIA: LAGOS ASSEMBLY APPROVES DEATH PENALTY FOR KIDNAPPERS
USA: JUDGE GRANTS DYLANN ROOF'S REQUEST TO REPRESENT HIMSELF IN FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY TRIAL
BELARUS: ANOTHER CONVICT EXECUTED – HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
GAZA: DEATH SENTENCE VERDICT UPHELD FOR PALESTINIAN CONVICTED OF KILLING CHILD
IRAN: ANOTHER JUVENILE OFFENDER SENTENCED TO DEATH
IRAN: MAN HANGED ON DRUG CHARGES, TWO EXECUTED FOR MURDER
IRAN: SUPREME COURT CANCELS BILLIONAIRE’S DEATH SENTENCE
SRI LANKA: 18 SENTENCED TO DEATH IN US TEA FIRM CASE
PAKISTAN: TWO MURDER CONVICTS HANDED DEATH PENALTY
IRAN: FIVE HANGED ON DRUG RELATED CHARGES
PAKISTAN: MURDER OF THREE HANGED TO DEATH
NIGERIA: KANO PRESCRIBES DEATH PENALTY FOR CULPRITS
IRAN: FOUR HANGED IN PUBLIC
PAKISTAN: DEATH SENTENCES FOR KILLERS OF CHRISTIAN COUPLE
PAKISTAN: COAS CONFIRMS DEATH SENTENCE OF ANOTHER 10 HARDCORE TERRORISTS
ANTIGUA: TWO MURDER CONVICTS RELEASED
BANGLADESH: TWO TO WALK GALLOWS FOR DOUBLE MURDER
NIGERIA: TRADITIONAL RULER’S SON, TWO SIBLINGS SENTENCED TO DEATH
EGYPT: APPEALS COURT QUASHES MORSI LIFE SENTENCE OVER HAMAS ESPIONAGE
ICJ: SINGAPORE MUST BE TRANSPARENT IN IMPLEMENTATION OF EXECUTIONS
VIETNAM: APPEALS COURT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE ON AUSSIE DRUG TRAFFICKER
SOMALIA: PUNTLAND COURT SENTENCES TWO MEN TO DEATH FOR ISIL LINKS
MALAYSIA: FATHER OF FIVE SENTENCED TO GALLOWS FOR TRAFFICKING 15KG OF METH
SAUDI ARABIA: SAUDI WOMAN EXECUTED FOR KILLING HUSBAND
SINGAPORE EXECUTES MALAYSIAN, NIGERIAN FOR TRAFFICKING, AUTHORITIES CONFIRM

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