Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

EU ready to help Belarus abolish death penalty

By Adarya Hushtyn, BelaPAN

The European Union is ready to provide every kind of assistance that Belarus needs to abolish the death penalty, Jim Couzens, head of the Political, Press and Information Section at the EU Delegation to Belarus, said in Minsk on October 5.

He was speaking on the first day of a weeklong series of events held by human rights defenders in Belarus to campaign against capital punishment.
Mr. Couzens noted that the death penalty made errors by police, prosecutors and judges irreversible.

The diplomat also warned that capital punishment did not guarantee low crime levels, and stressed that no capital punishment was used by the countries with the lowest crime rates. Earlier this year, the death penalty was abolished or suspended by Fiji, Madagascar, Congo, Surinam, Guinea and Mongolia, and there is no reason why Belarus could not join these countries, he said.

The abolition of the death penalty in Belarus is a very important issue for the EU and it has been raised at all discussions focusing on human rights, said Mr. Couzens.

The Belarusian authorities appear to be ready for discussions on the matter but the EU waits for real action, he warned.

More than 400 people are known to have been sentenced to death in the history of independent Belarus. Only one of these convicts was pardoned by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

There are four people on the death row in Belarus at present. They can be executed at any moment.