Tue, 21 May 2019

The Belarusian Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence for a man convicted of murdering two women, despite calls from the European Union for Minsk bring an end to capital punishment.

The court pronounced its decision in the case against Alyaksandr Asipovich on May 14.

Human rights activist Andrey Paluda, who coordinates the Rights Defenders against Capital Punishment campaign, told RFE/RL that Asipovich had a right to appeal the court's decision at the United Nations' Human Rights Committee.

Paluda maintains that Asipovich's right to a fair trial was violated.

Under Belarusian law, Asipovich has 10 days to file a request for clemency from President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Asipovich's mother told RFE/RL that her son planned to request clemency.

The 36-year-old Asipovich has previous convictions for theft, robbery, hooliganism, and inflicting bodily harm.

He was convicted and sentenced to death on January 9 for the murders in 2018 of two women in the eastern city of Babruysk.

Belarus has drawn criticism from rights activists and EU states as the only European country that carries out the death penalty.

For years, the EU has urged Belarus to join other countries in declaring a moratorium on capital punishment.

According to rights organizations, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus since it gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Human rights groups say Belarus carried out one execution in January, one in November, and two executions in May 2018.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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