Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko
The use of the death penalty in Belarus was condemned in a European Parliament resolution on February 16 2012, highlighting the death sentences handed down to Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou by the Belarus supreme court on November 30.
The European Parliament resolution urged Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko to pardon both men and to impose a moratorium on all death sentences and executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty from the penal system.
The two men were sentenced for allegedly committing terrorist attacks in 2005, 2008 and 2011 in Vitebsk and Minsk, but according to reports by human rights organisations (FIDH, Human Rights Watch), there are arguments showing that the trial was unfair and that the investigation was marred by serious human rights abuses.
The executions of the two may be carried out very soon, a European Parliament statement said.
Underlining that this "irreversible, cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, which violates the right to life", is unacceptable, MEPs deplored the continuing failure of the Belarusian authorities to take any tangible steps towards abolishing the death penalty or imposing an immediate moratorium on it.
The MEPs reiterated that the European Union and other international institutions have repeatedly urged the Belarusian authorities to abolish the death penalty.
They condemned the continuous persecution of human rights defenders and members of the democratic opposition and the harassment of civil society activists and the independent media in Belarus for political reasons and demand the unconditional immediate release of all political prisoners.
Belarus remains the only country in Europe that imposes the death penalty and still carries out executions.