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Belarusian Supreme Court Annuls Death Sentence In Murder Case

A protest in Zurich by members of Amnesty International against capital punishment in Belarus in August
MINSK, October 23, 2013 -- In an unusual move, the Belarusian Supreme Court has annulled a death sentence in a murder case.

Prominent human rights defender Andrey Paluda, who has followed the case, called the court's October 22 decision unprecedented.

The court ruled that the case against Alyaksandr Hrunou must be reinvestigated due to procedural mistakes.

Hrunou was found guilty of killing a young woman and sentenced to death in June.

The Supreme Court's decision comes two weeks after the UN's special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus, Miklos Haraszti, urged Minsk immediately introduce a moratorium on executions immediately.

Three death sentences, including Hrunou's, were handed down by Belarusian courts this year.

Five executions were held from 2010 to 2012.

Belarus is the only country in Europe that retains the death penalty.