Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (8 March):
I have heard reports that another death sentence was executed in Belarus in October 2017.
The death penalty is an inhumane and cruel form of punishment and cannot be reconciled with our basic European values. The German Government thus rejects the death penalty under all circumstances and is campaigning with its European partners for its worldwide abolition.
Once again, I call on the Belarusian Government to refrain from imposing and executing the death sentence. An immediate moratorium on executions would be a first step in this direction.
Belarus is the only country in Europe in which death sentences are still handed down and carried out. A referendum conducted in Belarus in 1996 confirmed there was widespread support for the death penalty. Two people were sentenced to death only two months ago, in January 2018, and an execution took place in April 2017. During his visit to Minsk in November 2017, Foreign Minister Gabriel called upon President Lukashenko to abolish the death penalty. The Human Rights Commissioner also travelled to Belarus in March 2017 in order to appeal directly to the Government.