On the execution of two death sentences in Belarus, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy Markus Löning issued the following statement today (27 July):
"I utterly condemn the execution of the death sentences against Aleh Hryshkautsou and Andrei Burdyka. Belarus is the only European country that still hands down and carries out death sentences, thus isolating itself from European standards and values.
Capital punishment cannot be justified on ethical grounds or in terms of legal policy. It is not a suitable instrument for combating crime.
The Federal Government calls upon the Belarus Government to finally implement a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step.“
Aleh Hryshkautsou and Andrei Burdyka were sentenced to death in May 2010 on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and kidnapping. The Federal Government, the EU and the Council of Europe had repeatedly demanded that the death sentence be commuted to a life term in prison.