Human rights defenders pass petition to authorities
On the International Human Rights Day representatives of the Belarusian human rights community passed to the Presidential Administration a petition calling to abolish the death penalty as a kind of punishment that contradicts to the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights treaties.
The member of Belarusian Helsinki Committee Hary Pahaniaila, the members of the Foundation for Legal Technologies Development Alena Tankachova and Volha Smalianka, the member of the Center for Human Rights Raisa Mikhailouskaya, the members of Human Rights Center Viasna Zmitser Salauyou and Iryna Toustsik, the member of the Committee for Protection of the Repressed Salidarnasts Andrei Sushko and the human rights defender from Brest Raman Kisliak came to the Presidential Administration.
During an audience with the head of the public reception P.Katushkin Hary Pahaniaila and Iryna Toustsik passed the petition. Katushkin promised to pass it for consideration.
The petition was signed by more than 30 people including well-known cultural and civil activist, human rights defenders, lawyers and scientists.
’We, the citizens of the Republic of Belarus who have signed this petition, call on the authorities of Belarus to listen to our arguments and abolish the death penalty in our country,’ reads the petition.
All of the signers who joined the campaign against the death penalty presented their arguments for the abolishment of this kind of punishment. The essence of all of them is that deliberate and ruthless deprived of a person of life on behalf of the state cannot be justified by anything.
Till lately the authorities have just allowed public statements about their intention to introduce the death penalty moratorium, but is still hasn’t been introduced. The human rights defenders think that it is high time to do it right now.
’This year two death verdicts have been issued in Belarus on the criminal cases against Vasil Yuzepchuk and Andrei Zhuk. And we are very concerned lest these people would become the last people shot in the modern history of Belarus,’ repeatedly stated the member of HRC Viasna Valiantsin Stefanovich.
Bear in mind that the campaign Human Rights Defenders against Death Penalty in Belarus was launched in January 2009 with the aim to get the death penalty abolished and thus make Belarus respect the common European values. At present Belarus remains the only country in Europe and in the post-Soviet space where the capital punishment is still in use.