Sergey Lavrov urges Belarus to abolish death penalty

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has sounded the response of Russia to the execution of Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou.

Being interviewed at Commersant FM radio station The Head of the Russian MFA said: «Fight against terrorism is sure to be hard. In the meantime our attitude to capital punishment is well-known – we declared a moratorium on death penalty long ago. There are special decisions made by the Constitutional Court and the Russian government favours the moratorium. Basically, we would be interested in all European countries’ acceding to it.»

Sergey Lavrov expressed his confidence that our country’s moving «towards the European Council membership will secure the solution of death penalty problem since its abolition is one of the conditions providing the participation in the Council of Europe.»

Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou were sentenced to death for the organization of the terroristic act in Minsk underground on April, 11, 2011, with 15 killed and 387 injured. The death verdict to both delivered by the Supreme Court of Belarus on November, 30, 2011 triggered a mixed reaction in society and drew attention to the death penalty issue once again since a greal deal of people considered their guilt as unproven. Dzmitry Kanavalau did not appeal against the sentence: no petition for pardon was filed by him. Uladzislau Kavaliou lodged a petition for pardon addressed to Aliaksandr Lukashenka.

But Lukashenka decided not to commute the death sentences because the acts of terrorism and other crimes perpetrated by them were exceptionally grave, resulting in multiple deaths and causing injuries to a large number of people, Belarusian Television reported in its news show “Panarama” on March 14, 2012. A few days later Luybou Kavaliova sent an appeal to the Belarusian president, urging him to order the one-year postponement of the execution of her son. «I hope that the UN Human Rights Committee will have considered our application during this period,» Mrs. Kavaliova says in her appeal.

On March 17, 2012 the condemned were reported to have been executed.

International community and democratic countries condemned executions highlighting that Belarus is the only European country where death penalty is still enforced.


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