Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement in Berlin today (18 January) on the handing down of the death penalty in Belarus:
On 5 January 2016, Henadz Yakavitski was sentenced to death for murder by Minsk Regional Court. I extend my profound sympathy and sincere condolences to the family of the victim of the brutal crime with which Henadz Yakavitski was charged.
Irrespective of the gravity of the crime, I deeply regret that capital punishment still exists in Belarus, the last country in Europe to have it. The death penalty is an inhuman and cruel form of punishment. The German Government is opposed to its use, whatever the circumstances. I call on the Belarusian Government to immediately suspend the use of the death penalty in Belarus and to intensify the public debate on capital punishment. Henadz Yakavitski’s right to a fair trial must also be ensured.