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UA 168/19
Aktiv seit 28. November 2019 | Noch 26 Tage Laufzeit

Viktar Paulau at risk of imminent execution

AI-Index: EUR 49/1493/2019

Viktar Paulau is at risk of imminent execution after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 12 November. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, without exception, as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.


Despite continuing dialogue between the international community and the Belarusian authorities on the establishment of a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition, in 2019 Belarus has executed at least two men and sentenced three men to death.

Belarus remains the only country in the whole of Europe and the former Soviet Union which still implements death sentences.

In Belarus, death sentences are often imposed after unfair trials; they are implemented in strict secrecy and without giving adequate notice to the condemned prisoners themselves, their families or legal representatives. The authorities refuse to return the bodies of those executed to their relatives or even tell them where they are buried. The secrecy surrounding executions in Belarus has been identified by the UN as amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the relatives. Executions are carried out despite requests from the UN Human Rights Committee to the government not to do so until the Committee has considered the cases.

By failing to publish full information about the use of the death penalty, including comprehensive statistics about the number of death sentences imposed and executions carried out, the Belarusian authorities prevent informed public debate about the issue and hamper the movement towards abolition. As of today, 142 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. In 2018, executions were reported in 20 countries worldwide, 10% of the world total. Of these executing countries, only 13 were «persistent» executioners, meaning that they carried out executions every year in the previous five years. In 2017, Guinea and Mongolia each abolished the death penalty for all crimes and Guatemala became abolitionist for ordinary crimes only. In February 2018, the President of Gambia declared an official moratorium on executions. The country carried out its last executions in 2012, but under the leadership of its new administration it signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in September 2017. Burkina Faso was the last country to have removed the death penalty from its Criminal Code in June 2018.

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.
  • Please take action before 9 January 2020.
  • Preferred language: Russian, Belarusian. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Dear President,

I am writing to express my concern about the fate of Viktar Paulau who was convicted and sentenced to death on 30 July by the Viciebsk Regional Court and whose sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on 12 November.

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. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the sentence, Viktar Paulau is now at risk of imminent execution. 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.

Yours sincerely,

Appeals to

President of Belarus
Alyaksandr Lukashenka
Vul. Karla Marksa, 38
220016 Minsk

Fax: +375 17 226 06 10
+375 17 222 38 72

Salutation: Dear President,



Copies to

Ambassade de la République du Bélarus
Quartierweg 6
Case postale 153
3074 Muri b. Berne

Fax: 031 952 76 16

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