Belarus edging towards abolition of death penalty

The head of the Lukashenka’s administration has responded to the offer of “Viasna” human rights center to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty.

An appeal in favor of a moratorium, signed by almost 20 thousand people, was taken to handed by human rights activists to the Presidential Administration in early July 2017.

“It follows from the response that ‘in general, our country is purposefully moving towards the phasing out of the death penalty,” said “Vyasna”.

In response, the administration provides statistics on the reduced number of prisoners sentenced to death in the country, it also refers to the results of the 1996 referendum, when 80.44% of the respondents were in favor of retaining the death penalty.

“The European experience shows that the death penalty was abolished in most countries only through the political will of elites, not by referendum,” Valyantsin Stefanovich said in an interview with “Interfax”.

Belarus remains the only country in Europe and the CIS, where the death penalty is maintained and applied, in accordance with the Constitution, as an exceptional measure of punishment for especially grave crimes.

In 2016, four death sentences were carried out in Belarus.

The latest death sentence was passed to Alyaksaei Mihalenya in Homiel, who had killed two people in a Homiel fight on 17 March. In June, the EU called for a moratorium on the death penalty, now it is the Amnesty International which is seeking the abolition of the death penalty after an appeal to Lukashenka.