Senator Smirnov: Belarus may abolish death penalty
Yevgeny Smirnov, Chairman of the Legislation and State Development Commission of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus, does not rule a possibility that the capital punishment will be eventually abolished in Belarus. The senator made this statement as he addressed the chairmen of regional and municipal courts at the Council of the Republic on 18 March, BelTA has learnt.
Yevgeny Smirnov emphasized that death sentences are extremely rare in Belarus. For instance, in 2008 and 2009 only two death sentences were passed by Belarusian courts.
The MP reminded that the Council of Europe strongly demands that Belarus abolish capital punishment. “May be, it is time to do that. I do not rule out a possibility that this issue will be finally settled in Belarus. We would have done it anyway, if they had not pressurized us,” the senator said. He added that he would not be surprised if some time after the capital punishment is abolished, they would point out to severe prison conditions in Belarus. “They have always been attentive to criminals. Nobody cares about victims, people who sustained life-long disabilities or were killed, children who were made orphans, but everyone is so concerned about criminals. Half of Europe is concerned about the two people who were executed in Belarus. These are double standards,” Yevgeny Smirnov said.
In his words, he talked to Europeans on numerous occasions. He asked them how people in their home countries would vote if a referendum on capital punishment were held there. “They would vote positively in Sweden, France (according to the former Justice Minister), and Italy. But the authorities of these countries would not hold a referendum, because it goes against the politics,” the MP concluded.
Yevgeny Smirnov informed that a task group was set up in the Belarusian parliament to study this issue. Its members plan to hold an international seminar on death penalty in Minsk in spring and to invite experts of the Council of Europe, PACE and representatives of public associations and NGOs.