Alexander Lukashenko agreed with the opinion of the Constitutional Commission that the issue of the death penalty in Belarus should be submitted to a separate referendum. This was reported by the Belarusian news agency BelTA.
“The spread in the death penalty is large. If we now raise this issue … Still, I think that the majority is in favor of keeping [the death penalty] … If it comes to that, consider it separately in a referendum, ”Lukashenka said.
Earlier, the chairman of the Constitutional Commission Pyotr Miklashevich said that the members of the commission were discussing whether to bring the issue of the death penalty to a referendum on the new version of the Constitution, which Lukashenko promised to hold no later than February 2022.
“Today the position of the Constitutional Commission is that at the moment there is no need to submit this issue to a referendum. For these purposes, it is necessary to hold a special referendum in the future, ”Miklashevich said.
When this special referendum could be held, he did not specify, noting only that it requires “sociological research, explanatory work and verification of the readiness of society to make such a responsible decision.”
Belarus is the only country in Europe and the CIS that still uses the death penalty. The court’s verdict is carried out by firing squad. Western countries and international organizations demand that the Belarusian authorities refuse to carry out death sentences.
How many people have been shot in Belarus since 1990 is officially unknown. According to unofficial data, more than 400 people were sentenced to death. According to human rights activists, Lukashenka only twice used the right to pardon those sentenced to death.
In 1996, the issue of the death penalty in Belarus was already submitted to a referendum. More than 80% of its participants were in favor of maintaining the exceptional punishment. Then the alternative to the death penalty in Belarus was a 15-year imprisonment, later the country introduced 25-year and life sentences for especially grave crimes.