Updated at 13:41,03-10-2022

Prosecutor general defends death penalty

Syarhey KARALEVICH, naviny.by

Opponents of the death penalty have resumed their "wailing" after the imposition of new death sentences, Prosecutor General Alyaksandr Kanyuk told the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

"They are fighting for a person who took innocent lives," Mr. Kanyuk said.

"The wailing has started, but what should we do to a person who cut off his victim’s head, put it into a bag and carried it around?" he said. "What should we do to a person who stabbed his victim 122 times?"

Mr. Kanyuk stressed that it was wrong to "defend and promote criminals." Some people have gone so far as to accuse Belarusian authorities of imposing death sentences to have more trump cards in their game with Europe, he said.

Mr. Kanyuk also defended a bill that provides for confiscating motor vehicles from drivers if they are caught drunk behind the wheel for the second time within a year. The introduction of this penalty would be "just the first stage," he warned, adding that it was time to stop caring for criminals more than for their victims.

Belarus is the only country in Europe and the post-Soviet region where the death sentence remains a sentencing option and prisoners are executed. The European Union and other international organizations have repeatedly called on the Belarusian government to abolish the death penalty or declare a moratorium on it. Authorities refuse to say how many people are sentenced to death and executed in Belarus. It is known that two young men were executed in Belarus last year over the deadly 2011 subway bombing in Minsk.

At least three people have been sentenced to death in Belarus this year.

On April 24, 2013, a panel of the Mahilyow Regional Court imposed the death penalty on an inmate of a Mahilyow prison for murdering a cellmate who had lost a game of dominoes to him, with the stake being life.

On June 12, a judge of the Hrodna Regional Court sentenced a young man to death for brutally murdering his wife and her alleged lover in Hrodna in August 2012.

Two days later, a judge of the Homyel Regional Court imposed the death penalty on a man who murdered a young woman, stabbing her 102 times in the head, neck, chest, arms and legs with a knife.