Viktar Paulau has been at imminent risk of execution after the Supreme Court of Belarus upheld his conviction and death sentence on November 12, 2019. His sister was denied permission to visit him on June 10, 2021 and when his lawyer enquired about his whereabouts, he was told that his client was no longer in the detention centre. The family fears that he may have been executed. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, without exception, as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
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Volha Ivanauna Chupris
Chairperson of the Clemency Commission
Vul. Karla Marksa 38
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Dmitry Basik
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202 986 9420 I Fax: 202 986 1805
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Ms. Chupris,
I am writing to express my concern that Viktar Paulau
may be at imminent risk of execution or may have been executed. His sister was recently denied permission to see him and on June 10, 2021 officials at the pre-trial detention centre informed his lawyer that he is not in the detention centre. This is usually the first sign for families that their relative may have been executed.
The treatment of the relatives of those on death row has been classified as torture and other ill-treatment by the UN Human Rights Committee. Relatives are usually only informed after an execution has been carried out by receiving the death certificate in the post weeks or months later and they are not permitted to have the body for burial.
Viktar Paulau was found guilty of the murder of two people in December 2018. According to local human rights defenders, there were irregularities in the court hearing which violated his right to a fair trial. He was convicted and sentenced to death on July 30, 2019 by the Viciebsk Regional Court whose sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on November 12, 2019.
The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and should be abolished. Belarus remains the only country in Europe and the former Soviet Union which still carries out executions.
In light of the above, I urge you to:
- Immediately halt the execution of Viktar Paulau and all those on death row in Belarus;
- Immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;
- Commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment.