”Two young men, Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalev, will be murdered by a European state. Yesterday, the Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Luashenka said that he refuses to pardon the two men.

Of course, my thoughts go to the young men’s families in this sad moment. One can not imagine the pain their families feel right now.

Belarus is the only European country that still allows the death penalty and the European Parliament has repeatedly condemned the death sentences against Kovalev and Konovalov. It is disgraceful, it’s disgusting and it is inhuman that death penalty still exists - and is enforced - in Europe today.

What makes it even more tragic is that it’s not even known for sure that these two men are guilty of the crimes they are accused for. Forced confessions and torture in prison are not uncommon in Belarus.

The regime does not respect its own people’s basic human rights. Yet Europe’slast dictator Lukashenka gets the honor of hosting the Ice Hockey World Championship 2014. This is something that I have repeatedly noted and criticized.

Obviously the International Ice Hockey Federation still don’t see how serious the situation is in Belarus. But how many more executions are needed? Why should we reward dictatorships where young men are shot do death? The issue of World Championship is in the end ”the sporting world’s” responsibility. Swedish Ice Hockey Association - Do you support democracy or  Lukashenka?”

Olle Schmidt
Member of the European Parliament
The Liberal Party of Sweden

- Visit Olle Schmidts blog here: http://schmidtblogg.blogspot.com/