Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy: Death penalty is judicial murder

The rash execution of Kanavalau and Kavaliou has sparked off hot dispute in Belarus. Such indignation is not surprising: the death penalty which can not be named other than judicial murder was enforced under intense public scrutiny. In the course of judicial proceedings if anything became quite clear it is only the certainty that the defendants’ guilt was unproven.

The dispute is focused on the question: «Was it possible to avoid the death of the two young men or at least one of them?» Leaving out of account the Belarusian dictator’s apparent political will, to what extent have the very pace of developments been affected by, for instance, actions of the defendant’s mother, the Belarusian opposition, human rights defenders and lastly European politicians? Various, often highly respectable people hazard conjectures that the final decision on the death penalty enforcement was influenced by domestic and foreign protests along with the mother’s heroic efforts and the lawyer’s activity. Because «Lukashenka hates being pressed» and under those conditions he was not able to pardon the sentenced. Thus, defenders «did harm to the condemned.»

It should be couched strongly and unequivocally that there is no substance behind the speculations of this kind; moreover, they are going ill with the moral of the Belarusian society being iniquitous to the mother of one of the sentenced.

It is obvious that SOMEONE had to take responsibility for the terroristic act resulted in 15 deaths in the country where Aliaksandr Lukashenka blatantly rules with a firm hand. As every attentive trial observer knows, the young men sentenced to death were СHOSEN to take part in it, but they were not found in the investigation process. Soon after their arrest Aliaksandr Lukashenka voiced his confidence that the criminals had been detained and they would be subject to punishment. In court their guilt was not proven. But SOMEONE did perpetrate the crime. Judging by the legal argument, if it is (what is most probably) not Kanavalau and Kavaliou who are to blame, there is someone else who carried out the crime.

While the condemned were alive the case remained open. According to the dictator’s reason it must be dismissed. The two young men’s arrest and pronouncing guilty did not provide them keeping alive; otherwise there would be a risk of falling of the whole conception of those behind the explosion in Minsk metro. It was not the question of the dictator’s mood or personal ambitions. Everything is much easier. It is of no consideration at all if the mother appealed to the European Council and the United Nations Organization. She might have knelt in front of the building of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus instead of her appealing – unfortunately, she would have gained the same result.

It is the wide response to the case and the efforts of mass media and human rights defenders that caused doubt in the court impartiality and law enforcement action. It is the the wide response to the case and the efforts of mass media and human rights defenders that might become the reason for at least partial redeeming the honour of the young men having become sacrificial goats and paid their lives for it.

The assumptions that the mother and Belarusian human rights defenders «did harm» to the sentenced to death ruin primarily human solidarity principles and put off resisting evil regardless the intentions of disputants.

Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy,

Belsat TV Director

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