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PACE Rapporteurs warn against threatened execution in Belarus

Strasbourg, 13.06.2013 – Marina Schuster (Germany, ALDE), the General Rapporteur on the abolition of the death penalty for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and Andres Herkel (Estonia, EPP/CD), Rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, have expressed deep concern at press reports according to which another death sentence was handed down in Belarus yesterday.

“Belarus is the only country in Europe still applying the death penalty. We can only call on the competent authorities to avoid taking another step away from the family of European nations which has done away with this cruel and inhuman punishment, a relic of another age,” they said.

Referring to the Parliamentary Assembly’s Resolution 1857 (2012), Schuster stated that the Council of Europe will continue its dialogue with Belarus only after a moratorium on the death penalty has been introduced. “We recall that, in the Belarusian constitution, the presence of a provision on the death penalty is considered as a transitional measure and that no legal impediment prevents either President Lukashenko or the parliament from introducing a moratorium on executions.”

“PACE’s Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy has decided to invite two members of the Belarus House of Representatives to its meeting in Strasbourg on 27 June, and this matter will certainly be on the table to assess the role that the Belarusian Parliament can play in this matter,” added Mr Herkel.