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Russia considers death penalty issue to punish terrorists

15.09.2004
 

The Russian State Duma does not intend to revoke the death penalty moratorium

Valery Grebennikov, the first deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for criminal, civil and arbitration law, said that Russia undertook to cancel death penalty, when it joined the convention about the establishment of the Council of Europe in 1996. The State Duma of the third convocation decided to endorse a moratorium on death penalty later.

”Several deputies and politicians drive Russia into a corner, when they say that the moratorium needs to be lifted. In other words, they demand Russia should violate decisions of the Council of Europe,” Grebennikov said.

Apparently, the official meant Aleksey Ostrovsky, a member of Russia's Federal Assembly delegation in PACE. The deputy has recently stated that he would ask to change the Council of Europe's Charter. Ostrovksy believes that the death penalty ban should not be applied to terrorists. Another Russian deputy, Sergey Glaziev, shares Ostrovsky's point of view, the Novie Izvestia newspaper wrote.

Cultural activists support the two politicians too. Well-known film director Aleksey German said at a meeting of protest in St.Petersburg: “A lifetime imprisonment is not the punishment for the people, who shoot children in their backs. Such people should be executed!” Russian singer and Duma deputy Alexander Rosenbaum urged to execute the terrorists too.

Russian regions did not keep aloof from the issue either. Volgograd regional government Nikolai Maksyuta, Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleev, the regional division of United Russia party, deputies of the Sakhalin regional parliament in the Far East of Russia expressed their opinions on the issue as well, having said that the death penalty moratorium should be lifted. Residents of Khabarovsk and Pskov passed adequate resolutions during meetings of protest. Schoolchildren of Ekaterinburg reportedly demand the revocation of the moratorium too.

However, some politicians object to the use of death penalty in Russia. Sergey Mitrokhin, deputy chairman of Yabloko party, said: “Such an inadequate reaction has been caused with deputies' wish to show their activity. They are not being guided with common sense. They want to show their voters that they are doing at least something.” The chairwoman of the human rights committee, Ella Pamfilova, believes that death penalty applied to terrorists would be a very easy and ineffective way to respond to the terrorists' challenge.

Over a hundred of countries in the world still keep and practice death penalty as a capital punishment. A workgroup of the Russian parliament is to submit a draft law to the Duma about an amendment of the Russian Penal Code pertaining to death penalty for committing terrorist acts. The moratorium, however, remains in effect.

International norms of human rights may also become a serious obstacle on the way to revoke the death penalty moratorium, the Novie Izvestia wrote. Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of the Federation Council committee for international affairs, stated that the reinstation of death penalty would be a step back to the infamous past: “It will be a step that will not solve the problem,” Margelov stated.

The revocation of the death penalty moratorium in Russia might lead to a harsh reaction from the Western society. In the words from Mikhail Margelov, only US Republicans would probably understand such a decision of Russia.

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