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Erdem Arda Güneş is an Istanbul based political analyst. After graduating from University of Ankara's Political Sciences Faculty, International Relations department he started working as a politics/diplomacy reporter for the daily Hürriyet. He received journalism education at the Berkeley and Minnesota Universities in 2013. He did interviews for various national and international media outlets focusing on diplomacy, politics and arts. Now works as a press advisor and political analyst for an international organization.
Belarus is the only country in Europe that continues its execute, while Russia keeps the death penalty within its law but, since introducing a moratorium on executions in 1996, has effectively outlawed it. Meanwhile, the Turkish President promised his supporters that he was “ready to reinstate the death penalty if the people demand it", following the 2016 coup attempt. Executions have not officially been used in Turkey for 33 years, and the death penalty was completely abolished in 2004.
Often described as "Europe's last dictatorship", Belarus shrouds the process in secrecy. The exact number of executions is unknown: more than 300 are thought to have taken place since 1991, when Belarus became an independent country.
Minsk-based human rights center Vyasna reported that the relatives of an inmate had only been informed 6 months after his execution had taken place.
In 1996, 80% of Belarusians were against the abolition of the death penalty. The government of President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, still uses this result to justify its policy. The lack of judicial independence in Belarus is a major concern. The selection, promotion and dismissal of judges are neither based on objective criteria nor transparent. This adds more controversy as its critics accuse the government of using the capital punishment as a major threat against dissidents.
The BBC reveals the horrible details of inmates' conditions as they wait for their “dead man walking” announcement. Executions are carried out by a shot in the head, the bodies are never returned to the families and the locations where they have been buried remain a state secret.
"The conditions are appalling," said Aisha Jung, Amnesty International's campaigner on Belarus, who worked for a decade on the country's executions: "They're treated as if they're already dead."