Belarusian authorities do not seem to abolish the death penalty in the near future.
European countries repeatedly urged Belarus to suspend, prohibit the capital punishment, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Friday.
“I cannot overrule the decision taken by the people. Should we want to do so, then we must hold a referendum. If we take this issue to a referendum, I don’t need to tell you what the result will be. You know it yourselves,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka.
Recalling that Europe had lately faced numerous terrorist attacks, the Belarusian leader stated that the Belarusian people consider the death sentence a ‘strong disincentive’ for criminals and terrorists. He even expressed hope that Europeans would turn to the experience of our country.
Belarus remains the only country in Europe that still applies capital punishment. The West has repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to join a global moratorium as a first step towards the abolition of death penalty.
The exact number of executions in Belarus is unknown, but local human rights defenders and journalists have worked tirelessly to uncover some information about death sentences and executions. According to the Ministry of Justice of Belarus, 245 people were sentenced to death from 1994 to 2014. Human rights NGOs believe that around 400 people have been executed since the country gained its independence in 1991; president Lukashenka granted a pardon to only one convict.