Strasbourg, 24.09.2010 - Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjorn Jagland, announced today that he is "deeply saddened" by news that the appeals of two prisoners on death row in the city of Grodno were rejected by the Supreme Court.
Jagland recalled that "the Council of Europe has repeatedly condemned executions in Belarus and called for abolition of the death penalty".
At a time when the Council of Europe and Belarus are discussing possible steps towards abolition of the death penalty, the authorities must turn words into action and send a strong signal that a moratorium on executions is needed.
"I trust that President Lukashenko will make good use of his Constitutional power to grant pardons to convicted citizens. Capital punishment is not compatible with the values we share as Europeans. It violates the European Convention on Human Rights. Death is not justice" the Secretary General said.