Universal Day against Death Penalty marked all over Belarus
Activists of the campaign Human Rights Defenders against Death Penalty held a number of informational actions for the abolishment of the death penalty on 10 October, the Universal Day against the Death Penalty, and before it. Belarus remains the only European country that continues using this inhuman kind of punishment.
The action dated to the Universal Day against the Death Penalty was supported by members of the electoral teams of the potential candidates by Ryhor Kostuseu, Yaraslau Ramanchuk and Andrei Sannikau who put leaflets with the slogan NO Death Penalty on their informational boards. Passers-by demonstrated a positive reaction to these leaflets. A youngster wearing the T-shirts Say NO to Death Penalty also put a signature in support of Ryhor Kostuseu.
Two groups of opponents of the death penalty walked through the city handing out informational pickets about the need to abolish the death penalty, including pocket calendars informing the people that Belarusian remained the only country in Europe where the death penalty was still used. The people also willingly took the color booklet that was dedicated to abolition of the death penalty. The activist of the movement For Freedom Viktar Syrytsa noted that the aim of the action was the abolition of capital punishment and the accession of Belarus to European values. ‘We tried to convince people that there’s no place for the death penalty in a democratic society,’ said the activist.
The local human rights defenders took an active part in the action dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. On 10 October they held a number of performances and other actions near the Chkalauski market, near the monument of the soldiers who had perished during the war in Afghanistan and near the Paliai ravine, where many civilians had been executed by shooting in the 1930-ies – 1950-ies.
Activists of the Human Rights Center Viasna and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee held an informational action at the entrance of Skidzelski market in the center of the city. They stood there in T-shirts with the slogan Say NO to Death Penalty, talked to passers-by and convinced them of the necessity of the abolition of the capital punishment.
The human rights defenders Anatol Paplauny and Leanid Sudalenka held an action against the death penalty at one of the busiest bus stops of the city. Homel residents paid interest to this issue and asked about the details of the use of this kind of punishment. The human rights activist Andrei Stryzhak handed out the appropriate informational materials to members of the electoral pickets of Uladzimir Niakliayeu and Andrei Sannikau and the people who signed in support of nomination of these democratic activists for the presidential election.
On 10 October human rights defenders and youth activists held a joint action near the Tsentralny supermarket. They lined up, handing out informational leaflets. Many passers-by were surprised to find that the death penalty is still used in Belarus. The action participants were dressed in the T-shirts of the campaign. The action was approached by two riot policemen. However, they studied the content of the leaflets, phoned to their administration and then kept watching the action without creating obstacles to the activists.
An action against the death penalty was held on 6 October. Its participants handed out calendars, leaflets and other printed production related to the topic of the death penalty in busy places of the town.
Similar actions were also held in Biaroza, Barysau, Mahiliou and other towns of Belarus. Moreover, on 10 October musicians from Belarus and Lithuania played a joint concert in Vilnius to urge the people to support the abolition of the death penalty in Belarus.
The same day, activists of the international human rights organization Amnesty International held an action against the use of the death penalty in Belarus in the Ukrainian town of Zhytomyr. The event was attended by the Belarusian activists Artsiom Dubski, Ihar Koktysh and Vital Tsishchanka.
Human Rights Defenders against Death Penalty