Executions in 2013: min. 778 plus 'thousands' in China

The death penalty in Belarus

Belarus is the only country in Europe and the former Soviet Union, which still carries out executions to this day.

There were no executions in 2009 and, this was the first year without executions in Belarus since the beginning of annotations by Amnesty International. But already in March of 2010 the country executed two men.

Belarus keeps capital punishment for the following criminal offences:Command of an aggressive war, murder of a representative of a foreign state or an international organisation with the aim to cause political tensions or a war, international terrorism, crimes against humanity, premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances, terrorism, terrorist actions, high treason in unity with murder, conspiracy to the assumption of power, sabotage, murder of a police officer, usage of weapons of mass destruction and murder of a person under violation of the international law and customary law during war.

In all cases the death penalty is optional, ie; it stands in the pleasure of the court.

In Belarus just about all death sentences are given for premeditated murder under aggravating circumstances.The death penalty is the alternative to imprisonment for life, or a term of imprisonment (15-25 years). It is used against neither women, nor men under the age of 18, or over 65 years. During the last years, death sentences were pronounced solely for murder.

The execution method in Belarus is shooting.

Belarus prisoners are not informed of their pending execution. They are normally executed within a few minutes after being informed, that their request for clemency has been denied. They are brought into a room and told, that their request for clemency has been denied and they are to be executed immediately. The warden, the district attorney and an official of the department of the interior is present. They are then brought into a different room. They are forced to kneel down and shot in the back of the head.

The official written notification about an execution is issued by the court, which has imposed the death penalty. This can take weeks or even months (which also means that the families might not be informed for months).

The corpses of the people who are executed, are not released to the families, but buried at a secret place. Personal belongings of the executed are not handed over to family members.

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