Death penalty for Russian supply saboteurs


Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk
Image: AP

The anti-Russian mood in the country is apparently making the Belarusian leader nervous. In a rush, a new law has been passed that targets its opponents.

DBelarusian leader Alexandr Lukashenko now threatens the death penalty against his political opponents and national saboteurs, who act in the tradition of partisans against the supply of Russian troops in Ukraine. On Wednesday, Lukashenko signed a law that had been submitted to the Belarusian authorities under an emergency procedure since late April. The action shows the nervousness of the leader, who has seen a majority of Belarusians against him since mass protests against the sham 2020 presidential election and is now under additional pressure from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Belarus is the only European country that imposes and enforces the death penalty – shooting him in the neck and in such strict secrecy that even the body of the executed person is not released to relatives. The death penalty is already provided for by law for a number of criminal offences, including those related to terrorism, war of aggression and genocide. In practice, however, according to Amnesty International, it is currently pronounced only in cases of “premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances”. According to human rights defenders, at least one execution has taken place in the past year. In the future – the new law will enter into force ten days after its official publication – the death penalty may be imposed “for an attempt to commit a terrorist attack”, including for “preparation” for “the assassination of an actor state or social”. for the purpose of influencing the decision-making of State authorities or intimidating the public”.

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