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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Belarus: Execution of Syarhey Iwanow and confirmation of Sergei Khmelevsky's death sentence

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko
Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Syarhey Iwanow and of the confirmation of the death sentence against Sergei Khmelevsky.

Despite the many calls made by the European Union, another execution has been carried out in Belarus. The case of Syarhey Iwanow, who had been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Belarus in March 2015, is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that his complaint was pending with the UN Human Rights Committee.

The death sentence against Sergei Khmelevsky, which was upheld by the Belarus Supreme Court on 6 May, has also been confirmed.

The European Union opposes capital punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity. Over the last decades, numerous countries have realised that the death penalty cannot be justified under any circumstances and have stopped applying it.

We expect Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

Source: diplomaticintelligence.eu, May 7, 2016


EU Condemns Belarus Over Execution

Country remains only nation in Europe still applying the death penalty.

The European Union has expressed concern following recent reports of an execution in Belarus.

In a 7 May statement EU officials called the execution of convicted murderer Syarhey Iwanow “particularly disturbing” given the fact that his complaint was pending with the UN Human Rights Committee.

The statement also mentions another prisoner Sergei Khmelevsky, whose death sentence has already been confirmed by the Belarusian Supreme Court.

“We expect Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition,” the statement notes.

At the moment, Belarus is the only UN member state in Europe that still hasn’t abolished the death penalty. In 2015 two Belarusian citizens were executed. 

Over 400 people have been executed in the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The use of capital punishment has been one factor keeping the country out of the Council of Europe. 

In a 1996 referendum, 80.44 percent of Belarusians were against abolishing the capital punishment.

Source: TOL, May 9, 2016

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