Right to Life Still Violated in Belarus
On 10 October the world celebrated the date of abolition of death penalty. According to RFE/RL, European and international organizations criticize Belarus for the use of death penalty.
Belarus and Uzbekistan remain the last countries that still use this kind of punishment. The OSCE head Rene Van Der Linden pointed it in his speech.
The UN also has pretensions to Belarus concerning the process of execution. Its special memorandum states that in Belarus it is equal to torture. Zmitsier Markusheuski, human rights activist from Belarusian Helsinki Committee, completely agrees with it:
-- The convicts are kept in separate cells. Any relations with the outer world are prohibited to them, even correspondence. They don’t know even when the punishment will take place. They live in fear of death. The same happens to his friends and relatives. They don’t know when he will be punished either or whether he has or hasn’t been. Neither will they ever know the place of burial.
According to the death penalty department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 126 death verdicts have been pronounced since 1997. According to the department, their number decreases: in the end of 1990-ies some 30-40 verdicts were issued each year, in 2003 there were only four of them and in 2004 – 2. Is it possible to completely refuse from them? Many policemen think otherwise, the chair of the department Iury Barenkou, for instance.
Minsk isolator is the only place in Belarus where the executions take place. Usually at least a year passes before the issue of the verdict and its execution. The convicts have the right to complain against the verdict to the Supreme Court. His last hope is the presidential commission on paroles. Each decision of this commission is signed by Lukashenka in person.
During the referendum of 1996 the majority of citizens voted for preservation of death penaly, which is no longer used in Europe. Since then the officials explain its presence in the Criminal Code of the country with the people’s will.