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PACE rapporteur Andrea Rigoni condemns executions in Belarus

Strasbourg, 07.02.2008 – “The three capital executions which took place on Tuesday in Belarus sadly show that this country is still a long way away from European values and standards,” commented Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), following the executions of Sergei Morozov, Valery Gorbaty and Igor Danchenko of the Morozov criminal gang. “It is particularly disconcerting that the same day on which a prominent political prisoner such as Artur Finkevich is released, three people are executed. The death penalty is to be condemned in all circumstances and should be completely abolished,” he said.

”I am very disappointed as, recently, there have been several instances in which prominent Belarusian figures have stated that time was ripe for Belarus to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty. I wish that the wave of reprobation raised by these executions will spur the Belarusian authorities into accelerating this process, also in the light of the recent Resolution of the UN General Assembly which, on the basis of an Italian initiative, calls for a worldwide moratorium,” Mr Rigoni declared.

”As a Rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, I will do my best to promote, in my contacts with the authorities and civil society, a moratorium on capital executions, as an intermediate step towards complete abolition,” he concluded.