A man is currently facing the death penalty in Belarus for allegedly beating and decapitating a friend’s 8-month-old baby girl, The Daily Mail reported.
The child’s mother, identified only as 25-year-old Natalya, was reportedly drinking with a family friend at the time of the alleged incident. The friend was named by local media outlets as a 47-year-old called Viktor. It was reported the baby had been slain with a kitchen knife.
Natalya’s husband, 28-year-old Leonid, came home with the couple’s two sons and “saw his daughter lying in the pool of blood, her head severed,” the Mail reported.
According to Belarusian website Tut.by, the incident took place on October 27. The victim was identified as Anya. The motive for the murder, Tut.by reported, was that the culprit was “irritated by the crying” baby.
A neighbor was quoted as saying that when Leonid came home he saw a scene resembling a “horror movie.” Reports indicate the child was beaten before being killed.
It was reported by Belarusian website Onliner that a paramedic who arrived at the scene—a home in the town of Luninets—fainted at the sight.
Onliner reported that Leonid and Natalya had been married for six years. It noted that Natalya did not work and was on maternity leave. The outlet published images of the couple.
Media-Polesye cited Dmitry Ivanyuk, identified as a law enforcement official, as saying: “On suspicion of committing the crime, the mother of the child and her friend were detained.”
Onliner reported that potential charges would include “murder of a juvenile, committed with particular cruelty.” The sentence holds the maximum punishment under the law. In Belarus, the maximum sentence for men is execution. For women it is 25 years in prison.
It is the last country in Europe that uses the death penalty—a fact consistently opposed by human rights campaigners, including Amnesty International. The process is typically carried out using a firing squad. The prisoner is forced to their knees and shot in the back of the head.
In a detailed document submitted to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee this year, Amnesty International raised concerns that Belarus continues to “impose death sentences and execute prisoners in secret.” The analysis covered the nation from 2013-2018.
“Executions are strictly concealed from the public and carried out without giving any notice to the prisoners, their families or legal representatives,” the organisation found.
In a separate Amnesty report published last month—titled “Death Penalty Cruelty – A Stain on Governments”—the group highlighted the harsh conditions surrounding prisoner deaths, including in Belarus.