Belarus is the last country in Europe and in the former Soviet Union that still carries out executions.
All information on the death penalty in Belarus is kept secret. There are no available statistics for the number of executions.
Amnesty International, however, estimates that as many as 400 people may have been executed since Belarus gained its independence in 1991.
At least four people were executed and one more sentenced to death in 2008.
Prisoners on death row are told they will be executed only moments before the sentence is carried out. They are shot in the back of the head. The body is not handed over to the family, who are informed only after the event, and the place of burial is kept secret causing further distress to relatives.
Image showing a simulation of the execution method used in Belarus - the executioner shoots the victim in the back of the head with a silenced Makarov pistol - February 2009 ©Amnesty International