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Russian chief investigator speaks in favor of restoring death penalty in Russia

December 09, 2015, 13:53 UTC+3 IZHEVSK
In Alexander Bastrykin's words, criminals who commit outrageous crimes do not deserve "having a place in the world"
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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/ITAR-TASS

IZHEVSK, December 9. /TASS/. Russia’s chief investigator said on Wednesday he was in favor of the restoring the death penalty in Russia, currently under moratorium, but at the same time the Russian Investigative Committee had been and will always be adherent to the country’s laws and legal norms.

"I personally speak for the capital punishment and this I say this first of all as a human being," Alexander Bastrykin, the chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee, said speaking in the Urals city of Izhevsk at a commemorative event devoted to a 13-year-old local boy, who was raped and murdered.

"I am not afraid of criticism, when somebody begins criticizing me or all those voicing such ideas," he said. "We must not be hypocrites. The evil must be punished. If one takes away somebody’s life, moreover the life of a child, one must pay for it with his own life.

According to Bastrykin, criminals, who commit such outrageous crimes, do not deserve "having a place in the world."

Russia’s top investigator said he had worked in the law enforcement bodies since 1975 and from his own experience knows a great deal of criminals, who would "step over everything," but "would never step over their own lives."

"I remember a lot of cases, when bandits and terrorists in 1990s asked for the only thing and it was to spare their lives, but when they were reminded that they took somebody else’s life, and more than one, they would break down crying asking for mercy," Bastrykin said.

The investigator, however, said that the committee he is in charge of had compled and always would be with the laws of Russia.

Kremlin against death penalty

Russia suspended death sentences in 1997. The last death verdict was carried out in 1996. Moscow assumed an extra obligation to cancel the death penalty when it signed Protocol 6 to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms in April 1997. On that condition, it was admitted to the Council of Europe.

Debates over whether punishment by death should be reinstated have never ceased since the moratorium took effect. Society’s attitude is mixed.

Kremlin officials have repeatedly commented on proposals to introduce death penalty. Kremlin Administration Chief Sergey Ivanov said n November that it would be premature to introduce capital punishment for terrorists.

"If a referendum is held in Russia on whether the death penalty should be restored [for a number of crimes], I have no doubt that over 90% of our citizens will vote for the restoration of this measure of punishment," Ivanov said adding that it’s not always possible to give vent to emotions.

"Sometimes, it is necessary to act out of reason in compliance with Russia’s international commitments," the Kremlin administration chief stressed.

"Therefore, I personally believe, though I fully share these emotions, that this move would be premature and inexpedient to put it mildly," Ivanov said.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters commenting on the suggestion that the Kremlin proceeds on the assumption that a moratorium on the capital punishment is currently in effect in Russia.

"The issue of death penalty is extremely complicated, he noted. "After all, there is a decision on the moratorium, we proceed from this moratorium," the Kremlin spokesman said.

When asked whether the stance of the Russian President Vladimir Putin who earlier called the return of the death penalty pointless has changed, Peskov said the president "had not come up with any alternative points of view."

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