The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement on December 19:
“The High Representative regrets the death sentence recently handed down to an individual by the Minsk Regional Court. She hopes that his right to appeal will be fully exercised.
She is conscious of the serious nature of the crimes for which he has been convicted. However, capital punishment can never be justified. The European Union opposes capital punishment under all circumstances. The death penalty is cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.
The High Representative urges 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 universal abolition.“