Calls for Belarus to commute death sentences
Multiple problems have been identified in the case against the two young men accused of the terror attacks in Minsk in 2011.
The death sentences imposed on them cannot be tolerated, " says the President of the Nordic Council , Kimmo Sasi.
The verdict can no longer be appealed but Sasi is calling on the authorities to commute the sentences.
"The sentence runs counter to the legal principles that protect human rights in Europe. There is also good reason to doubt whether the trial was fair. Executing the two men would further sully the reputation of Belarus and show how far removed the country is from European values, " the President said.
The trial and sentences followed the bomb attack on a subway station in Minsk in April 2011, in which twelve people lost their lives and over 150 were injured. Jean-Claude Mignon, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has also issued a statement criticising the sentences, pointing out that the young men’s confessions were extracted under torture.
Belarus is the only country in Europe that is not part of the Council of Europe and has not ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.