Death penalty disqualifies Belarus from any status in Council of Europe, secretary general says

2012 2012-01-26T12:25:21+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The use of the death penalty makes it impossible for Belarus to have any status in the Council of Europe, Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland told reporters in Strasbourg on January 25. 

Mr. Jagland called on the Belarusian authorities not to execute the two young men sentenced to death in the Minsk subway bombing case. It is not clear that Dzmitry Kanavalaw and Uladzimir Kavalyow are guilty of the terrorist attack, he said, adding that their execution would make remedial action impossible. 

In June 2009, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) decided that the Belarusian parliament`s Special Guest status in the Assembly might be restored only after Minsk declared a moratorium on the death penalty. 

To become a member of the Council of Europe, Belarus will also have to release the imprisoned presidential candidates and human rights defender Ales Byalyatski, Mr. Jagland added. There are no legal grounds for Mr. Byalyatski`s conviction, he stressed.