Belarus Introduces Death Penalty for High Treason

Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus

Belarus has implemented legislation allowing the death penalty to be imposed against government officials and military members convicted of high treason.

The modifications to the country’s criminal code supported by President Alexander Lukashenko include the death penalty for officials and service personnel who inflict “irreparable damage” to Belarus’ national security through treasonous conduct.

Belarus is the only country in Europe that has not abolished the death penalty, which has been imposed to murderers and terrorists. A shot to the back of the skull is used to carry out executions.

Throughout nearly three decades, Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist, violently crushing dissent. More than 35,000 protesters who opposed his re-election in an August 2020 election that the opposition and the west claimed was manipulated were detained and hundreds were beaten by Belarusian authorities.

Monday, a Belarusian court sentenced Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the primary challenger to Lukashenko in the election, in absentia to 15 years in prison on accusations including conspiring to topple the government. Ales Bialiatski, the most famous human rights champion in the country and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, was sentenced to ten years in prison this week.

The bill that Lukashenko, 68, signed on Thursday also included penalties for “propaganda of terrorism, discrediting the armed forces and paramilitary units, and violating the rules to protect state secrets,” emulating the draconian legislation of Belarus’s principal partner, Russia.