Belarus: detention conditions of people sentenced to death
How is daily life while waiting for death?
Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is applied. Data relating to death sentences and executions are confidential. The time between trial and execution is very short, less than a year in some cases. The country has been condemned several times for failing to respect the right to a fair trial. Those sentenced to death are placed in solitary confinement and subjected to an extreme level of security and restrictions. Civil society organisations describe these detention conditions as humiliating. Prisoners maintain a minimal and constrained link with their relatives. This culture of secrecy brings intense psychological pressure on families.
Prison Insider gathered information on the detention conditions of people sentenced to death in nine countries. Here is an overview of the situation in in Belarus.
—The information presented comes principally from the report Death Penalty in Belarus: Murder on (Un)Lawful Grounds produced by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights Centre Viasna (HRC Viasna) organisation in 2016. Additional sources were also used which are mentioned when referenced.
Oleg Alkaev (Aleh Alkajeu), former head of the Minsk prison, declared that between 1996 and 2001, 134 executions were carried out under his mandate. He is now committed to the abolition of the death penalty. He is the author of “Shooters Team” (2010) in which he describes the procedure for executions and recounts his time as the head of the firing squad.
Amnesty International examines the story of Gennadii Yakovitskii and his family to explain the system in place in the country.