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OSCE Denounces Execution In Belarus

Thirty-three-year-old Syarhei Vostrykau was sentenced to death on rape and murder charges in 2016. (file photo)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has denounced the recent execution of a man in Belarus, the only country in Europe which still applies the death penalty.

Michael Georg Link, director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said in a May 8 statement that he was alarmed by the execution, which was reportedly carried out last month.

"The use of the death penalty is completely out of place in a region where most countries recognize the inherently cruel, inhuman, and degrading nature of a punishment that fails to act as a deterrent and makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible," Link said.

The European Union last week criticized the execution after it was reported by a Belarusian human rights group.

The group identified the executed man as Siarhei Vostrykau, a resident of the city of Homel who was found guilty of rapes and murders involving extreme brutality.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a May 6 statement that the 28-member block reaffirms "its strong opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances."

Belarus carried out four executions last year.

Before 2016, an execution had not been carried out under the Belarusian legal system since November 2014.

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