Council of Europe leader urges Russia to formally abolish death penalty

The leader of Europe's top human rights body urged Russia on Sunday to formally abolish the death penalty. When it joined the Council of Europe nearly a decade ago, Russia committed itself to banning the death penalty, the council's Secretary General Terry Davis noted in an interview.

"I hope that it will fulfill this promise in the nearest future," the agency quoted Davis as saying.

Russia imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 1996, when it joined the Council of Europe, but it has not ratified a protocol of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights banning capital punishment.

Many Russians support capital punishment, and a top prosecutor Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov this year proposed lifting the moratorium for convicted terrorists.

In a June report, the Council of Europe's parliamentary Assembly said there had been "very little progress" on Russia's commitment to the formal abolition of the death penalty, Interfax reported.


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