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Belarusian president says he is not ready to introduce death penalty moratorium

May 09, 2012, 3:16 UTC+3

Then we shall take a decision together [with the parliament],” he added

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MINSK, May 9 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday he has not ready to take a decision to impose a moratorium on death penalty.

“It is outside the parliament’s competences to impose such moratorium, and will never agree to it. I am a servant of my people and I know popular moods,” he told lawmakers.

In his words, it was not easy for him to take decisions on the two latest death sentences [to the men accused of committing an act of terror in the Minsk metro]. “When the entire world is exerting pressure on you and holds myself almost a terrorist, I have to take decisions. Do I want it as a human being? By far not. But I am the president and I have to ensure justice, as society demands,” he said.

“It is a difficult question and it is not easy to openly discuss it,” Lukashenko noted. “We once dared to consult the people and put the issue for a referendum. For me it is a law. Moreover, when courts replace apparent capital punishment, which is in place in Belarus, like it is in the stronghold of democracy – the United States – and in other countries, with life sentences, I don’t support courts. If you, a villain and evildoer, commit awful crimes, you must be held responsible.”

He did not rule however that society might “be ripe to introduce a moratorium or outlaw capital punishment.” “Maybe, it is. Then we shall take a decision together [with the parliament],” he added.

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