AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
Deserting death row EU urged to oppose executions
(Brussels 28 March 2011) As Amnesty International issues its annual worldwide t on death sentences and executions, it has criticised the European Union for its weakening opposition to the death penalty around the world. Last year saw the return of executions to Europe, when two men were executed in Belarus. Their lawyers questioned the fairness of their trials and both men had appealed for clemency to President Lukashenka. But they were executed nonetheless, in great secrecy, and their families and lawyers were not notified.
“We’re extremely disappointed that the EU hasn’t done more to prevent these and other executions around the world”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “All EU countries have abolished the death penalty, so the EU is an important global force in opposing it. But the issue seems to be disappearing from the EU’s list of priorities. Why for example don’t we hear the EU attacking the death penalty in China, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia any more And why hasn’t the EU yet blocked companies from exporting drugs destined for use in US executions ”
Amnesty International’s report reveals that although the global trend is towards abolition, 57 countries retain the death penalty, 23 of which were known to have carried out executions in 2010. The report documents the execution of well over 500 people globally. This figure excludes China, where the total number of executions remains in the thousands.
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