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AFP
June 14, 2019

Belarus executes murderer on death row: rights group

World

AFP
June 14, 2019

MINSK: Belarus, the only country in Europe still to use capital punishment, has executed at least one man on death row, local rights group Viasna said on Thursday, citing relatives.

Alexander Zhilnikov, 45, has been executed after being convicted over a contract killing of two people in 2015 and one other murder, the group said. Another man, 23-year-old Vyacheslav Sukharko, was also sentenced to death for taking part in the killings but Viasna could not confirm whether he had also been executed.

"Experience shows that death sentences in such cases are carried out simultaneously," it said in a statement. Belarus reportedly executes prisoners using a shot to the back of the head but the practice is highly secret and there are no official statistics. It executed at least three people last year. Neighbouring Russia still has the death penalty but has not used it since 1996.

In 2016, the European Union lifted most of the sanctions it had imposed in recent years against Lukashenko and other Belarusians, in a move to encourage progress on human rights. Nearly three quarters of the countries in the world have abolished or ceased to use the death penalty, according to Amnesty International.

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