Belarus expands death penalty law, ups threat to opposition

May 18, 2022, 12:09 AM | Updated: 12:11 pm

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Belarus on Wednesday expanded the death penalty law to include “attempted terrorism,” in a move that could radically ramp up the government’s pressure on the country’s beleaguered opposition.

Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a law allowing the death penalty for an attempt to commit a terrorist attack. Previously, it could not be handed down for “an unfinished crime.” Belarus’ leading human rights groups and opposition politicians have spoken out against the law.

Belarus is the only country in Europe where the death penalty is still in place.

The new law amends Belarus’ Criminal Code and applies in cases of plotted acts of international terrorism and murders of government officials or public figures. It has been approved by the country’s parliament.

Authorities in Belarus started actively bringing terrorism charges against opposition figures after Lukashenko won his sixth term in office in a disputed 2020 presidential election, triggering a wave of mass street protests that drew up to 200,000 people.

Lukashenko’s government responded with a violent crackdown, detaining more than 35,000 people and brutally bearing thousands. Key opposition figures have been either jailed or forced to leave the country.

In March 2021, the prosecutor general’s office launched a criminal case on the charges of preparing a terrorist act against opposition leaders Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Pavel Latushka and others.

The latest arrests on terrorist charges involved so-called “railway partisans” suspected of sabotaging the Belarusian railways to hinder supplies of Russian weapons to the frontlines in Ukraine.

“Introducing death penalty for ‘attempted terrorism’ is a direct threat to activists opposing the dictator and the war (in Ukraine),” Tsikhanouskaya told the AP. “I call on the international community to respond and consider any instruments for preventing political murders in Belarus.”

Belarus’ Helsinki Committee, the Viasna human rights center and the Human Rights Against Death Penalty group have issued a joint statement noting that the new amendments “create prerequisites for serious abuses and arbitrary application of the death penalty.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
1 day ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
1 day ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
2 days ago
Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Na...
Associated Press

Nashville shooter who killed 6 drew maps, surveilled school

Three children were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday, hospital officials said.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Belarus expands death penalty law, ups threat to opposition