Closer to EU? Belarus Parliament may hold hearings on death penalty

Parliamentary hearings on death penalty may be held in Belarus, Andrey Naumovich, the chairman of the permanent commission on human rights, national relations and mass media, said on Tuesday when speaking at a meeting of the political affairs committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg.

“The House of Representatives can organize parliamentary hearings on death penalty in late 2017 – early 2018,” he stressed.

According to the top official, Belarus is also ready to continue the dialogue with the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to improve the electoral practice.

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 Alyaksandr Lukashenka granted a pardon to only one convict., following BelTA

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