Death row inmate Zhylnikaw executed

Death row inmate Alyaksandr Zhylnikaw has been executed, the Vyasna Human Rights Center announced on Thursday with reference to the man’s lawyer.

On May 30, Mr. Zhylnikaw’s lawyer visited him at Pretrial Detention Center No. 1 in Minsk to work on a complaint that they were going to file with the Prosecutor General’s Office. When the lawyer came to the center on June 13, she was told that Mr. Zhylnikaw had been executed.

According to Vyasna, Mr. Zhylnikaw’s accomplice, Vyachaslaw Sukharka, might have been executed too.

“The practice shows that all people sentenced to death in the same case are executed at the same time,” Vyasna said.

On January 20, 2018, a Minsk City Court judge sentenced Messrs. Sukharka and Zhylnikaw to death in their retrial.

On March 6, 2017, a different judge of the Minsk City Court found Mr. Sukharka, 23, and Mr. Zhylnikaw, 44, guilty of killing a young couple in Minsk and a man in the Minsk district in December 2015 and sentenced them to life in prison.

In addition, Alina Shulhanava, a 27-year-old Minsk woman who hired the two men to commit one of the crimes, was sentenced to 12 years in a minimum-security correctional institution.

Ms. Shulhanava is believed to have hired the pair to beat up her ex-boyfriend’s partner. However, the men stabbed the two lovers to death. The man was stabbed 80 times and the woman 63 times.

A few days before the double murder in Minsk, the pair murdered a 59-year-old man who had refused to rent out a room to Mr. Sukharka. Messrs. Zhylnikaw and Sukharka came to the man’s home in hopes of stealing his money and killed him with a metal rod, hitting him on his head 17 times.

On July 14, 2017, the Supreme Court of Belarus upheld an appeal by a prosecutor who described the life imprisonment sentences for the two men as too lenient and ordered a retrial.

After being sentenced to death in January 2018, Messrs. Sukharka and Zhylnikaw filed appeals. However, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences for them on May 30, 2018.

In December 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee registered Mr. Zhylnikaw’s complaint and asked the Belarusian authorities to delay the man’s execution pending the consideration of his complaint.

Andrey Paluda, a coordinator of a group called “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus,” expressed indignation that Mr. Zhylnikaw had been executed before the UN Human Rights Committee had considered his complaint.

“On the one hand Belarus wants to be closer to Europe, calls itself a European country and holds the Second European Games, but on the other, it does not share human rights values and remains the only country in Europe and the post-Soviet region where people are executed,” Mr. Paluda said.