Belarus remains the only country in Europe and on the territory of the former Soviet Union which still uses the death penalty.
The share of Belarusians who support the use of the death penalty increased from 52% in 2016 to 60% in 2017, a poll by the Presidential Administration’s Information and Analytical Center showed. Such data was published in the latest collection of the Information Analytical Center “The Republic of Belarus in the mirror of sociology”.
In 2017, 60% expressed the opinion that the death penalty is necessary, 18.5% supported the abolition, 12.5% supported the moratorium, and 9% found it difficult to answer, according to the IAC.
According to the IAC, in 2016 the share of supporters of the death penalty was 8 percentage points lower, and the number of supporters of the moratorium was 6.5 percentage points. above.
At the same time, the survey showed that not all Belarusians know how the death penalty is in Belarus. 12% believe that this measure is currently canceled in Belarus. 4% think that a moratorium has been introduced. 7% of citizens think that the death penalty has not been executed for many years. 69% gave the right answer – that death sentences are carried out and executed in Belarus.
” 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.”
Belarus remains the only state in Europe and the CIS where the death penalty is applied. Since 1990, over 400 sentenced to capital punishment have been shot in Belarus.
In 2018, four were executed: Alexei Mihalenya, Viktor Letov, Semyon Berezhnoy and Igor Gershankov.
The use of capital punishment is one factor keeping the country out of the Council of Europe.
Most of the death penalty convictions were for murder committed under aggravating circumstances.
According to human rights activists in January 2019, 2 people are on death row – Alexander Zhilnikov and Vyacheslav Sukharko.
The Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus states that all executions are by “firing squad.” In practice, all executions are by a shot fired into the back of the head after the prisoner has been forced to his knees.
Typically, prisoners are executed within hours or even minutes of learning that their clemency application has been denied. The authorities carry out executions in secret and refuse to release the bodies of executed prisoners to their families. Relatives may be informed of the execution by letter weeks or months after the event. Article 175 of the Criminal Executive Code of the Republic of Belarus also allows for the government not to communicate the place of burial of those executed to their relatives. In October 2012, the U.N. Human Rights Committee found that this policy violates the human rights of the convicted and their families.
“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.