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EU Criticizes Belarus Over Death Sentence

The European Union has sharply criticized Belarus, the only European country that applies capital punishment, for sentencing a man to death.

In its statement issued on March 19, the EU said that a court in the southeastern city of Homel sentenced Syarhey Ivanou to death the previous day.

Ivanou was convicted of murder and rape.

The EU expressed its "deepest sympathy of the victim of these crimes."

"Nevertheless, the European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases as it cannot be justified under any circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity," it said.

The EU said that Ivanou's "right to appeal must be fully guaranteed."

The last reported execution of a convict in Belarus took place in April 2014.

Rights activists said the man, who was convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, was executed before the UN Committee on Human Rights examined his appeal.

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