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UN Condemns Executions In Belarus

Henadz Yakavitski is one of four people to have been executed in Belarus this year (file photo).
Henadz Yakavitski is one of four people to have been executed in Belarus this year (file photo).

The United Nations has condemned recent executions carried out by authorities in Belarus.

The European Union confirmed last week that Belarus carried out a total of three executions during the month of November -- raising the total number of executions in the former Soviet republic during 2016 to four.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, said in a statement on December 5 that the "three executions testify once again to the blatant disdain of Belarusian authorities for the right to life and also their staunch non-cooperation with the international human rights system.”

The three executed in November included death row inmates Henadz Yakavitski, 28-year-old Ivan Kulesh, and 31-year-old Syarhey Khymyaleuski. A fourth prisoner, Syarhey Ivanou, was executed in Belarus on April 18.

"Once again, I call upon the Belarusian authorities to adopt soonest a moratorium on the death penalty,” Haraszti said.

The EU -- along with Amnesty International and other human rights organizations -- has been calling on Minsk to join a moratorium on the death penalty for years.

Before April, an execution had not been carried out under the Belarusian legal system since November 2014.

According to rights groups, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus since the early 1990s.

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