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Report: Executions resume in Belarus as EU lifts sanctions

Associated Press Associated Press 13/10/2016

MINSK, Belarus — A new report by a Paris-based human rights group and Belarusian activists says Belarus has resumed executions after the European Union lifted most of its sanctions against the former Soviet nation.

The report released Wednesday by FIDH and Viasna said its representatives attended a hearing earlier this month at the Belarusian Supreme Court, which upheld a death penalty verdict. The groups say executions in Belarus resumed in April after the EU lifted most of its sanctions imposed on Belarus and its authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko.

More than 400 people have been executed since 1991 in Belarus, which remains the only European country that has not banned capital punishment.

"The fact that EU sanctions were lifted had no effect on the future of Belarusian death row prisoners who are still executed by shooting in the middle of Europe," Viasna chief Alex Belyatsky told The Associated Press. "The procedure of a 'shot in the forehead' did not change since Stalin's time."

Death row inmates in Belarus are kept in tiny cells where the inmates are not allowed to sit or lie on the bunk in the daytime. Relatives are not informed about the place or time of the execution and are not allowed to receive the body for burial.

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