VIENNA, 12 November (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko answered a question about a possibility to abolish capital punishment in Belarus as he attended a press conference in Vienna on 12 November, BelTA has learned.
“My answer is simple: this matter was decided at the referendum. Only a referendum can abolish capital punishment. We are moving in this direction,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the European Union is demanding that Belarus abolish death penalty. “We cannot disregard this matter, to be honest. We often conduct opinion polls on death penalty. Nothing has changed since the referendum took place. Do we have to hold another referendum knowing that the abolition of capital punishment will be rejected by the public? I think this referendum will not make any sense. Therefore, we agreed with politicians in Brussels to start working on this matter together. We worked out some plan, a roadmap on interacting with the Belarusian society. We are moving towards it. Haste can only hurt this process,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state asked the journalist who raised this topic a rhetorical question about the attitude of Austrian people to capital punishment. “You do not know. This is the essence of your democracy, on the one hand. Before you demand something from someone and speculate on this matter, you need to know what your people think about it,” the Belarusian president said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Austria maintains good relations with the United States of America and China. “Have you ever asked them the same question? I don't think so. Let it be another rhetorical question,” the Belarusian head of state added.
“As to the Council of Europe and our membership in it [it is conditioned upon the abolition or suspension of capital punishment], we will be glad to join it, but we will also accept the rejection,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.