European Council Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland has condemned Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's refusal to pardon two men sentenced to death over a subway bombing last year, the organization said in a communiqué on Thursday.
Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, both 25, were found guilty of carrying out the bombing, which took place in Minsk on April 11, 2011, killing 15 people and injuring more than 200.
“Unfortunately, Belarus remains the only European country that practices the death penalty, despite this organization’s many efforts to conduct dialogue on its abolition or at least a moratorium,” Jagland said.
“I reiterate my call to the authorities in Belarus to put an immediate end to the use of capital punishment.”
“The Council of Europe firmly maintains its position that death is not justice. This principle is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and is one of the basic principles, which lays the foundation for the protection of human rights by the Council of Europe,” the text of the communiqué reads.
President of the 47-nation EU Council's Parliamentary Assembly Jean-Claude Mignon on Thursday appealed for clemency for Konovalov and Kovalyov.
"We very much fear ... that something will happen any time now that cannot be undone," Mignon and the assembly's rapporteurs on Belarus and capital punishment said in a statement.
"We formally appeal to the Belarusian authorities not to execute Konovalov and Kovalyov because as a matter of principle we are opposed to the death penalty and many questions remain about the fairness of their trial."
Belarus remains the only European country that allows the death penalty. Last year, two people were sentenced to capital punishment and executed.