Updated at 17:46,10-07-2018

11,2% Belarusians ready to watch death penalty executions on TV


The majority of Belarusians continue to support death penalty but the number of those calling for abolition steadily rises.

The number of death penalty supporters in Belarus has dropped by 5.6 percent over the past year, according to the poll by Penal Reform Int. There are 34.6 percent of those who are definitely against death penalty and 32 percent supporting the capital punishment. There are 25.6 percent who back death penalty under certain conditions.

"The trend in the past year is that death penalty opponents are becoming stronger than supporters. We can say that the number of those opposing the capital punishment is increasing. The Belarusian society is generally able to accept the idea of death penalty abolition," says Siarhei Shymavalos from Penal Reform International.

Interestingly, the key argument of the state in support of death penalty is that society is not ready to abolish it. But society is not ready to deal with it and delegates it instead to the state.

"The majority of the population distances itself from this problem resolution. When asked who bears responsibility for the presence of death penalty and should deal with this issue, only 9.3 percent think the decision is taken by the people of the country. In the context of referendum, people do not want to take responsibility. I am not saying that this degree of conformism is good. But one can draw a conclusion that the decision to abolish death penalty cannot be resolved through a referendum," says Aleh Hulak, chairman of Belarusian Helsinksi Committee.

The poopulation is not ready for humanization but expects it from the state at the same time.

Siarhei Shymavalos: We can say about the demand for humanization for the state and numbers are proving that. People generally reckon that the state is ready for humanization but they personally are not.

It is worth noting that the arguments agains death penalty have changed. The number of people who fear judicial errors has dropped to 58.6 percent from 71.7 percent. At the same time, the number of people who consider death penalty uneffective is 22.1 percent.

Trust in courts has not increased.

Aleh Hulak: Trust in courts is high but when asked about the court many people think that judges take bribes (35.5 percent), make rulings under pressure from the authorities (41.3 percent). Over 40 percent believe that the rich and powerful find it easier to get justice in court.

Like last year, many people have no idea that death penalty is applied in Belarus. About one third of the population is not aware if there is death penalty in Belarus or not.

Interestingly, 14.9 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women are ready to watch death penalty executions live on TV. The number of those who are not prepared to watch screenings of public executions has increased from 78.8 percent to 85.6 percent.