Belarus: Stop the execution of Vasily Yusepchuk

Vasily Yusepchuk was sentenced to death by Brest Regional Court on 29 June 2009. He was convicted of murdering six elderly women. On 2 October his appeal against the death sentence was turned down by the Supreme Court. In Belarus, people who have been sentenced to death have 10 days in which to apply for clemency after their appeals are rejected. Only one request for clemency has been granted since President Lukashenka came to power in 1994.

Vasily Yusepchuk, belongs to a marginalized group; he is a Roma who does not have an internal passport which is a requirement of all citizens in Belarus. He may have an intellectual disability and his lawyer has stated that he is illiterate and unable to tell the months of the year. Vasily Yusepchuk has alleged that he was beaten while in pre-trial detention on two separate occasions in January and in March.

In Belarus, condemned prisoners are given no warning that they are about to be executed, and they are usually executed within minutes of being told that their appeal for clemency has been rejected. They are first taken to a room where, in the presence of the Director of the detention facility, the Prosecutor and one other Ministry of Interior employee, they are told that their appeal for clemency has been turned down and that the sentence will be carried out. They are then taken to a neighbouring room where they are forced to their knees and shot in the back of the head. Their families will only be informed days or sometimes weeks after the execution that their relative has been executed.

You can send an e-mail to President Lukashenka calling for clemency for Vasily Yusepchuk.