EU outraged after Belarus executes two men accused of Metro bombing | World news | The Guardian
“Belarus is the only country in Europe which still executes people,” Thorbjørn Jaglan, the secretary general of the Council of Europe, said. “With its disrespect of basic human rights and democratic standards, the government of Belarus is increasingly isolating its country and its people from the rest of the world.”
Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said she sympathised with the families of the 15 people who died and the 300 injured in the metro bombings, but stressed there was clear evidence that the two accused were not accorded due process “including the right to defend themselves”.
Human rights activists said they were appalled by the executions, saying they deprived society of the opportunity to learn the truth. “The government was in a rush to throw a white shroud over all the contradictions and discrepancies,” Lyudmila Gryaznova said. “The execution of the so-called terrorists, whose guilt remains under suspicion, gives the appearance that the government is concealing the traces of the crime.”
The executions appear to be Lukashenko’s brutal riposte to recent moves against him by Brussels. EU members recalled their ambassadors after Belarus asked the head of the EU delegation in Minsk and the Polish ambassador to leave the country. In February, the EU toughened its sanctions regime against senior Belarus officials involved in repression, imposing travel bans on a further 21.
In recent years, the EU has tried to involve Belarus in political dialogue. But relations worsened after Lukashenko launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition – including the arrest of several leaders – following street protests against his dubious election “victory” in late 2010.