More than 160 people were executed in Belarus for 11 years

2008 2008-10-11T18:55:17+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Europe marks the Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October. Belarus is the only country in Europe where death penal wasn’t abolished and is used rather often. 

Three leaders of Marozau’s gang, namely Siarhei Marozau, Valer Harbaty and Ihar Danchanka, were executed in Belarus in the beginning of the year. They were accused in abbrochment, racket, and murders. It is known that the convinced applied for pardon to Alexander Lukashenka, but their applications were dismissed, RFE/RL reports. 

Information about one more death penalty appeared on 6 October. The decision of the Homel region court against Homel dweller was enforced. He was found guilty in rape and murder of a nine-year old boy. 

At the same time, people in Belarus often complain about inhuman, extremely hard order in prisons. Famous Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski is sure that there is some connection between this order and death penalty in the country.

‘I believe that if death penalty would be abolished, conditions in prisons were more human. It is a symbol. Like a flag, a coat-of-arms, the capital punishment is a symbol of the Soviet system. Belarus is the only country in the European-Asian area, where death penalty wasn’t abolished. Even Uzbekistan imposed moratorium this year,’ the human rights activist says. 

The European Parliament urged the Belarusian authorities to abolish death penalty in its resolution on Belarus of 9 October. 

Mikola Statkevich, one of the leaders of the Belarusian social democrats, doesn’t exclude this. 

‘Abolition of death penalty doesn’t threaten the stability of the current authorities. The main motivation for these people is not human rights or national interests, but preserving power. Dangerous criminals and political opponents can be just isolated, that’s enough. Of course, death penalty is more suitable for psychology of these people, but if they feel an urge... Political prisoners were released, why not abolish death sentence now?’ Mikola Statkevich says. 

According to official data, more than 160 death penalties have been executed since 1997. Only one condemned person is known to have been pardoned by Alexander Lukashenka’s decree.