Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler on the use of the death penalty in Belarus

08.05.2017 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (8 May) on an execution in Belarus:

“I am deeply shocked that the death penalty has again been carried out in Belarus. I visited Minsk in early March and was able to see for myself that, despite all the restrictions to which civil society in Belarus is subject, there is an active civil society movement against the death penalty and also in Parliament the topic is dealt with in a differentiated manner.

The person executed killed two people. My sympathy extends to them and their families for the suffering brought upon them.

Yet, the death penalty is an inhumane, cruel and antiquated form of punishment and cannot be justified in any way. It has no place in our age and I am shocked that it is being carried out again in the middle of Europe.

The German Government rejects the death penalty under all circumstances and will continue to campaign with its partners in the EU for its worldwide abolition.

I call upon the Belarusian Government to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the country and thus take a step to abolish capital punishment once and for all.”

Background information:

Belarus is the last European country in which death sentences are handed down and carried out. In February 2017, President Lukashenko again spoke out against a moratorium.

The last execution was carried out in April 2017. The person executed was sentenced to death for rape and murdering two women.

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