Belarus Executes Three People in Secrecy While EU Lifts Sanctions

Belarus recently executed three inmates, bringing to four the number of executions in the country in 2016 – all of them after the EU’s decision to permanently lift sanctions against the Lukashenko regime.

The authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko has executed three inmates, according to Belarusian human rights organization Viasna. Henadz Yakavitski, Ivan Kulesh and Siarhei Khmialeuski were all shot on November 5 in Minsk.

Belarus executed a total of four inmates throughout 2016, after the EU’s decision to permanently lift sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime. Only one day after the EU lifted these sanctions in February 2016, Belarus sentenced a person to death. The November executions came just after an EU-Belarus coordination meeting in Minsk.

"This shows that the Lukashenko regime has no intention of making any real improvements to the country´s human rights record. The EU imposed sanctions as a result of human rights abuses, but lifted them despite a lack of progress. It is high time that the EU gives Belarus a clear signal that the regime's human rights abuses are unacceptable," said Joanna Kurosz, Eurasia program director for Civil Rights Defenders, in response to news of the executions.

Belarus is the only country in Europe that applies the death penalty. President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the country in an increasingly authoritarian manner since 1994.