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UN Panel Criticizes Belarus Over Prisoner Torture

A UN human rights panel has criticized Belarus over what it called "numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of detainees."

The Committee against Torture said on November 25 that it is deeply concerned at Belarus's failure to investigate allegations of abuse by law enforcement officials and to prosecute the perpetrators.

It also expressed concern at reports that Belarus only informs the families of persons sentenced to death weeks after the punishment has been carried out.

The report, issued at the end of the panel's 47th session in Geneva, called on the Belarusian government to act immediately to protect detainees and prosecute torture suspects.

The committee gave Belarus until November 25, 2012 to respond to the recommendations.

Belarus is the only European country that does not belong to the Council of Europe, which promotes democracy and human rights.

Belarus is also the only country in Europe that carries out the death penalty.

compiled from agency reports