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Belarusian man sentenced to death for 2 killings

Belarusian man sentenced to death for 2 killings

A man in Belarus was sentenced to death Tuesday for killing two guards while robbing a vehicle carrying cash.
The Supreme Court in the ex-Soviet nation convicted 25-year-old Andrei Zhuk on murder charges and sentenced him to death.
Belarus is the only country in Europe that still conducts executions, according to human rights group Amnesty International. Rights activists say more than 400 people have been put to death in Belarus since it became independent in 1991.
The death penalty is carried out with a bullet to the back of the head. The time and place is a state secret, and relatives of those executed are never told where the bodies are buried.
Under pressure from the West, Belarus has gradually reduced the number of executions in recent years, but President Alexander Lukashenko has resisted calls to abandon capital punishment.
Zhuk asked the court for clemency, but Supreme Court ruled he deserves capital punishment. Zhuk has 10 days to appeal to the president for a pardon. Lukashenko has pardoned just one person during his 15-year rule.
Earlier this month, Lukashenko let the deadline pass Tuesday for appeals against capital punishment for a man convicted for robbing and murdering six elderly women. The man's lawyers claimed he was tortured into confessing to murder.
"Belarus keeps loyal to the tradition of the Soviet Union where execution was considered to be the most reliable way of keeping the public in fear," rights activist Valentin Stefanovich said.