Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

EU`s opposition to death penalty has no impact on public opinion in Belarus, poll shows

By Vyachaslaw Budkevich, BelaPAN

A recent poll indicates that the European Union`s efforts to put an end to the execution of prisoners in Belarus do not influence the views of the supporters or opponents of the death penalty in Belarus.

The poll was conducted between April and June 2013 by the Minsk-based Center of System Business Technologies SATIO at the request of the Moscow office of Penal Reform International.

The supporters of the death penalty argue that it is a fair punishment for some offenses, and that it is an efficient deterrent, said Sergei Shimovolos, of the Moscow office of Penal Reform International. Opponents of capital punishment stress the value of human life and the possibility of judicial error, he said. Seventy-three percent of the respondents expressed concern that courts might make such errors, while 9.7 percent said that they had no such concern. This indicates that a vast majority of the Belarusians are more afraid of executing innocent people than letting the guilty go unpunished, Mr. Shimovolos said.

According to the poll, 61 percent of the Belarusians believe that a citizen of Belarus may count on a fair trial, while 30 percent hold the opposite view. One-third of the respondents said that judicial errors were extremely rare and one-third said that they were quite common.

The poll suggests that high-income Belarusians have more confidence in the Belarusian judiciary than low-income people.