Federal Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (18 March 2012) on the execution of Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov:
“I was profoundly appalled to hear the news of the executions of Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, which underscore the inhumanity with which Belarus is governed. President Lukashenko is a heartless and merciless dictator.
The trials were unfair. The men’s confessions were obtained using torture. Kovalyov later retracted his confession and denied his guilt until the end.
It is disgraceful that the practice of execution continues in Europe in the 21st century. Belarus must abolish the death penalty immediately. It is the only country in Europe that still has the death penalty.”
Yesterday Foreign Minister Westerwelle expressed his condemnation of Vladislav Kovalyov’s execution and his regret that President Lukashenko had ignored all of the international community’s calls not to carry out the death sentences.
Konovalov and Kovalyov were sentenced to death on 30 November 2011. President Lukashenko denied their pleas for pardon last week.
Human Rights Commissioner Löning was denied entry into Belarus in February 2012. He had intended, among other things, to deliver to President Lukashenko a letter from Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle expressing the German Government’s advocacy of clemency for Konovalov and Kovalyov.