Belarusian MPs approve imposition of death penalty for terrorism
MINSK. April 27 (Interfax) - The lower house of the Belarusian parliament has approved Criminal Code amendments that introduce tougher punishments, ranging to the death penalty, for terrorism.
"The bill 'On amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus' was passed in two readings," the press service for the Belarusian House of Representatives said in a statement on Wednesday.
The draft legislation is intended "to deter destructive elements and to demonstrate the state's resolute fight against terrorist activity," the press service said.
"The bill proposes introducing amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, including the possibility of applying the exceptional measure of punishment in the form of the death penalty for attempting to stage terrorist acts," it said.
"In trying to unbalance the situation in Belarus and to provoke instability and conflicts inside the state, destructive forces are continuing their terrorist and extremist activity, the goal of which is the death of people. Stopping at nothing, they are taking steps to disable railway equipment and railroad tracks, facilities of strategic significance, setting fire to houses, and blowing up vehicles at popular recreational sites and in crowded places," House of Representatives Speaker Vladimir Andreichenko said.
"In this context, tough and effective measures need to be taken to prevent and to fight terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification for what terrorists do," Andreichenko said.
The death penalty is currently regulated by Article 59 of the Belarusian Criminal Code. People can be sentenced to death by firing squad "for certain felonies involving the premeditated murder of a human being under aggravating circumstances." The death penalty may be replaced with a life sentence via a clemency procedure.