Mother Denied to Bury her Executed Son According to her Christian Faith

Country: Belarus

Date of incident: October 12, 2010

Mother of an executed prisoner cannot pray at her son's tomb. It is unclear whether he had seen a priest before execution.

The mother of executed prisoner Andrei Zhuk has lodged a suit in court because of the refusal to release her son's body after his 18 March execution or to tell her where he was buried. Svetlana Zhuk complained that she was, "denied the possibility to bury my son in accordance with the demands of Orthodox Christianity," according to the complaint seen by Forum 18 News Service. She insisted this was a violation of her rights under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Religious Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to manifest "religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching". Belarus is a party to the ICCPR.

The law grants a prisoner the right to see a religious representative before an execution, however, often the swiftness of the execution leaves the prisoner no time to request a meeting - including a final confession if he so wishes - ahead of execution.

Prisoners in pre-trial detention and those serving prison sentences have in recent years complained of denial of access to a religious representative of their choice, removal of baptismal crosses, denial of access to religious services, denial of religious literature and enforced working on religious holidays, such as Easter or Christmas. Such denials were particularly common for those serving sentences for political reasons. Source / read more at: Forum 18 (12.10.2010) and HRWF Int. (13.10.2010) -