On 28 April, the Belarusian National Assembly approved an amendment to the Criminal Code, introducing the death penalty for “attempted acts of terrorism”, a move that goes in the opposite direction to the global trend of abandoning the death penalty.
The death penalty violates the inalienable right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
The amendment of the penal code gives the possibility for further serious abuse. Many political prisoners (36) have been charged or already condemned to long prison terms under the Code’s “terrorism” provisions. Many representatives of the democratic forces and political activists are wanted under “terrorism” charges. Many of the accused are tried in secret, unfair and biased trials, often under fabricated charges and with no legal safeguards. Now they also risk the death penalty.
The current political context in Belarus makes this development even more worrying. The complicity of Lukashenko in enabling and supporting the Russian military aggression by providing its territory for the attack on Ukraine has been condemned by the EU in the strongest possible terms.
The regime continues its brutal repression of its own population. Human Rights Defenders, journalists and political activists face completely unjustified and very long prison sentences. Recently, trade unionists were also targeted.
The EU reiterates its demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. The EU will continue its support to the democratic forces in the country and to a free, independent and prosperous Belarus.