Human Rights Defenders against Capital Punishment: first results of the campaign

2009 2009-03-10T21:32:59+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Human Rights Defenders against Capital Punishment in Belarus campaign started a month ago. For this period of time 11 famous people of Belarus signed the petition to the Belarusian authorities: The head of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus of the 12th convocation Mechyslau Hryb, the head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhana Litvina,  the writers Uladzimir Arlou, Sviatlana Aleksiyevich and Adam Hlobus, the musicians Kasia Kamotskaya, Uladzimir Puhach and Zmitser Vaitsiushkevich, the TV and radio hosts Zinaida Bandarenka, Tamara Lisitskaya and Katsiaryna Pytleva. While signing the petition each of them expressed his/her attitude to this issue and drew arguments for abolishment of death penalty.

Mechyslau Hryb, who was the first to sign the petition, told that he decided to sign it as a result of his experience of investigation of the series of murders within the frames the high-profile ‘Vitsebsk case’. We should remind that in January 1985 Mr. Hryb headed the investigative group, thanks to the work of which the real protractor was detained in November 1985. During the investigation it was discovered that 14 people received unlawful penalties. One of them was sentenced to death and shot.

Sviatlana Aleksiyevich, who lives and works in Belarus, joined the campaign during a short visit to Minsk in connection with presentation of her chronicle Voices of Utopia at the 16th International Book Exhibition. The writer signed the petition being surrounded by admirers of her literary works and shared with the present people her concern with the fact that our world still remains the world of people who kill their brothers.

Adam Hlobus not only joined the campaign against capital punishment, but also proposed the visitors of his blog to discuss this issue in the ‘questionnaire’ column. He also expressed his arguments for abolishment of death penalty in his livejournal notes.

‘Collection of signatures was the first stage of the campaign. Durign this time we questioned many people and listened to different opinions of this issue. There are many sides to death penalty. As a result of our activities we learned that some of the questioned people don’t have a defined position on this question. That’s why we think that it is a high time for a public discussion of death penalty in our country, and our next step must be inducement to such discussion,’ stated the human rights activist Iryna Toustsik during the presentation at the 6th Assembly of non-governmental organizations and initiatives that took place on 6-7 March in Minsk.

In order to receive a feedback in discussion of this issue, human rights defenders hold a contest of creative works on death penalty.

In the photo: human rights defender Iryna Toustsik during presentation of the campaign at the sixth Assembly of pro-democratic NGOs.