Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (22 January):
On 20 January, once again two people were sentenced to death in Belarus. They had been found guilty of the murders of two men and a woman. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the victims and their families.
Nonetheless, the seriousness of the crime does not alter the fact that the death penalty is an inhumane and cruel form of punishment which has no place in modern Europe. The German Government rejects the death penalty under all circumstances and is campaigning with its European partners for its worldwide abolition.
I therefore appeal to the Belarusian Government to take the first step towards abolishing capital punishment by imposing an immediate moratorium on execution of the death penalty in Belarus
Belarus is the only country in Europe in which death sentences are still handed down and carried out. The death penalty was reintroduced in 1996 following a referendum. The last execution was carried out in April 2017. The last time a death sentence was handed down was in July 2017, when two people were sentenced to death for multiple murders. During his visit to Minsk last November, Foreign Minister Gabriel called upon President Lukashenko to abolish the death Penalty.