Stop Executions in Belarus

Chairwoman of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, Heidi Hautala, fully endorses the statement below by the heads of European Parliament, Council of Europe and OSCE Parliamentary delegations[:] dealing with Belarus concerning the secret executions of Andrei Zhuk and Vasily Yuzeppchuk in Belarus last week. Chairwoman expressed grave concern over the continuing practice of death penalty in Belarus and noted that partnesrhip without commitment to respect fundamental values is simply not an option.

Europe’s parliamentarians unite to condemn executions in Belarus

Strasbourg, 24.03.2010 – The heads of three European parliamentary bodies dealing with Belarus have firmly condemned the execution of Andrei Zhuk and Vasily Yuzepchuk which, according to human rights organisations, took place in Belarus last week in complete secrecy and which has yet to be confirmed officially by the authorities.

The statement was made by Sinikka Hurskainen, Jacek Protasiewicz and Uta Zapf, who head the bodies dealing with Belarus for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

“The Belarusian authorities carried out the executions ignoring all appeals to for clemency and knowing that capital punishment represents an insurmountable obstacle for the development of political dialogue with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament,” they said.

“The decision to execute Mr Zhuk and Mr Yuzepchuk was taken in blatant disregard of the fact that the UN Human Rights Committee was still considering individual applications on their cases and had called on the Belarusian government to suspend the enforcement of the penalty. Politically, this decision is also at odds with the initiative of setting up an ad hoc group in the Belarusian parliament to consider the issue of capital punishment in Belarus.”

“In Europe, there is no place for the death penalty. The Belarusian authorities should be aware that there cannot be political dialogue without shared values.”