Liubou Kavaliova: “The death penalty is handed down on behalf of the State and the people, and people do not know about it”
On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty the central office of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” hosted a press conference with the participation of human rights defenders and relatives of those sentenced to death.
The event was held in the framework of the information a week against the death penalty, which was held on the initiative of the “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus” campaign. According to the campaign’s coordinator Andrei Paluda, the information weeks will now take place annually, as long as Belarus retains the capital punishment.
The press conference was attended by the mother of Uladzislau Kavaliou, who was sentenced to death and executed in 2011. She noted that the society is not informed about the death penalty, many people do not realize that Belarus still retains the death penalty. “I myself had no idea about it until I was faced with this problem,” said Mrs. Kavaliova.
Andrei Paluda says the lack of awareness is due to the fact that the public does not have enough open discussion. In addition, the government ignore information regarding the detention of prisoners and the execution of sentences.
Valiantsin Stefanovich says a moratorium on or abolition of the death penalty in Belarus is a political issue. “The academic circles confirm that the presence of the death penalty has no effect on the crime rate. Officials constantly say that we have come to the moratorium. But the decision is postponed all the time, reportedly due to the pressure from the EU. But we should not impose a moratorium for the European Union not for PACE, but for the Belarusian society,” says Viasna deputy chairman.
Human rights defenders and the mother of the death convict Pavel Sialiun addressed the President asking for mercy and an alternative punishment for the youth.
“My son made a mistake, he should be punished, but not with shooting," said Tamara Sialiun.
She sent her appeal to the President and the Patriarch Filaret. Pavel Sialiun also wrote a petition for clemency. On October 2, the UN Human Rights Committee registered his individual complaint. He is represented by the coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus” Andrei Paluda.