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spring96.org

April 14 2016

Belarus, death penalty: Supreme Court confirms death sentence for Henadz Yakavitski

 
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The Supreme Court’s criminal board has upheld the death sentence (https://spring96.org/en/news/81854) handed down to Henadz Yakavitski on January 5 for the murder of his partner.
 
The death convict has been repeatedly convicted of various criminal offenses. In 1989, Yakavitski was sentenced to death, but the sentence was later commuted to a prison term.
 
During today’s hearing, Yakavitski, who was kept handcuffed in a cage, which is unusual, said that not all the circumstances of the criminal case were examined by the Regional Court. He argued that his motive was not jealousy and that he did not commit the murder he was accused of.
 
A medical examination failed to provide univocal results. In addition, several items that were relevant to the case had disappeared, and neither the court and nor the investigation attempted to find out their location. 
 
Yakavitski’s two defense lawyers said that the case should be sent for retrial. They stressed that there were numerous unclear circumstances about the case, and therefore there are doubts about their client’s guilt. And, since the punishment is irreversible, it is necessary to re-examine the case. They also said that the Regional Court did not assess the results of the medical examination. According to the lawyers, there is information that the biological traces of an unidentified man were found on the victim's body. However, the court failed to assess the fact. In such circumstances, the death sentence will results in a violation of Yakavitski’s right to life, as provided by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said the defense lawyers.
 
 
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