Death penalty: concern at the latest events in Belarus and Russia

Marietta Karamanli (France, SOC), general rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on abolition of the death penalty, condemned the death sentence issued on 18 March by the Rechytsa district court against Siarhei Ivanou at the end of a trial which had been held in camera.

“The death penalty is inhumane and never justified, irrespective of the circumstances. It is particularly disturbing that M. Ivanous’ sentence was handed down just a month after Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, had visited the country. Mr Rigoni had once more pointed out that the death penalty was fundamentally contrary to the Council of Europe’s values” said Ms Karamanli.

She also said she was disturbed by reports alleging that a working group at the Russian State Duma is preparing legislation to introduce capital punishment for certain crimes relating to terrorism.

“I wholeheartedly condemn all attempts to re-introduce the death penalty. Russia, which is the only member of the Council of Europe which has not ratified Protocol No.6 to the European Convention on Human Rights on the abolition of the death penalty in time of peace, and Belarus, which hopes one day to become a member of our organisation, must urgently take steps to abolish the death penalty once and for all. If they fail do to so, they risk finding themselves increasingly isolated in Europe, where there is a relatively broad consensus that the death penalty has no place on our continent” said the rapporteur.