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Viktar Skrundzik (giacca blu) e Valyantsin Bushnin (giacca rossa)
Viktar Skrundzik (blue jacket) and Valyantsin Bushnin (red jacket)
BELARUS: IN RARE MOVE, SUPREME COURT CANCELS DEATH SENTENCE IN HIGH-PROFILE CASE

July 2, 2020:

Belarus's Supreme Court has upheld the appeal of a death-row inmate and annulled his sentence in a murder case, a very rare move in the tightly controlled state led by autocratic President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The court also annulled two other sentences in the case on 30 June 2020 and sent it back for further investigation and a retrial. Belarus is the only country in Europe that enforces the death penalty.
A court in the central city of Slutsk in early March sentenced 29-year-old Viktar Skrundzik to death, 25-year-old Vital Myatsezh to 22 years in prison, and 33-year-old Valyantsin Bushnin to 18 years in prison, after finding them guilty of murdering two elderly persons, along with further crimes of attempted murder, arson, and robbery.
All three pleaded partially guilty and appealed their sentences. Skrundzik insisted at the trial that his initial confession in the crimes had been coerced by investigators.
Only Skrundzik was present at the appeal hearing on 30 June.
He was brought to the courtroom handcuffed and in a special robe for death row convicts that has the letters VMN emblazoned on it. The acronym stands for capital punishment.
Skrundzik reiterated his stance, saying that he had confessed to the murders of the two elderly persons -- Mikhail Shuhaley and Uladzimer Harkavets -- under pressure, and stated that in fact he had not killed them.
According to Skrundzik, it was Bushnin who killed the two men. Skrundzik added that he feared Bushnin because, according to him, the man had connections in criminal circles.
Belarusian human rights activist Andrey Paluda called the court's decision "a historic moment."
"A death sentence was canceled, which is very rare.... The whole case will be reinvestigated and that is a big thing, which we hail," Paluda told RFE/RL.
For years, the European Union has urged Belarus to join other countries in declaring a moratorium on capital punishment.
According to Paluda, aside from Skrundzik, there are four other persons on death row in Belarus.
Rights organizations have said that more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus since it gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

(Sources: rferl.org, 01/07/2020)

INDONESIA: SOME 100 DRUG OFFENDERS SENTENCED TO DEATH THIS YEAR
TEXAS (USA): BILLY JOE WARDLOW EXECUTED, THE FIRST EXECUTION IN THE STATE FOLLOWING A FIVE-MONTH DELAY DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
INDIA: BENGAL’S SERIAL KILLER SENTENCED TO DEATH IN RAPE AND MURDER CASE
IRAN: THREE MEN EXECUTED IN RAJAI SHAHR PRISON 
NIGERIA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR ARMED ROBBERY
VIETNAM: WOMAN CHARGED WITH DOUBLE HOMICIDE RECEIVES CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
SUDAN: KORAN TEACHER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR SEXUAL ABUSE
JORDAN: ‘LIFE’ COALITION SEEKS TO END DEATH PENALTY
GHANA: PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO GRANTS AMNESTY TO 794 PRISONERS
USA - Pennsylvania. Richard Baumhammers asks for "pen pals"
VIETNAM: TAIWANESE DRUG TRAFFICKER SENTENCED TO DEATH
USA - California. 5 prisoners die of COVID-19 at San Quentin Death Row.
SRI LANKA: NIGERIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
EGYPT: COURT OF CASSATION UPHOLDS DEATH PENALTY FOR 3 DEFENDANTS IN ANSAR AL-SHARIA CASE
NIGERIA: TWO ROBBERS TO DIE FOR KILLING KWARA COUPLE
EGYPT: COURT OF CASSATION SENTENCES ONE MONK TO DEATH, ANOTHER TO LIFE FOR ABBOT'S KILLING
EGYPT: MUM SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR FEEDING DAUGHTER SULPHURIC ACID
USA - Pennsylvania. Kareem Johnson Becomes Nation’s 170th Death-Row Exoneree Since 1973.
PAKISTAN: CONVICT SET FREE AFTER SPENDING 21 YEARS ON DEATH ROW

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IRAN - Hands off Cain Year End Report: At least 284 executions in 2020
  IRAN: HANDS OFF CAIN, THE HANGING OF THE PROTESTER MOSTAFA SALEHI IS A SHAME FOR THE SO-CALLED DEMOCRATIC WORLD   
  USA: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’, BUT IS IT ONLY RACISM?  
  IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME  
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
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