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Lukashenko wants balanced approach to amnesty of drug offenders

MINSK (BelTA) – A balanced approach to the amnesty of persons convinced of drug crimes is needed in Belarus, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting held on 16 April to discuss the amnesty and pardon of persons convicted of drug crimes, BelTA has learned.

According to the head of state, following his instruction the Supreme Court has prepared a draft amnesty law. “This is not a new thing. In the run-up to certain dates of big importance for our state we often resorted to such acts of humanity. Indeed, this is an act of humanity displayed by the state in relation to prisoners in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory.

“This document comprises all approaches which I previously articulated to determining a circle of persons subject to amnesty. This year the list was expanded. It included underage dealers from organized groups and persons convicted of corruption. It was proposed to reduce the term of serving punishment for such offenders by one year,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In this regard, he asked the participants of the meeting if it would be right and if there was any risk that the decision would discredit all the work that had been done by courts and other law enforcement bodies. “I think that if the chairman of the Supreme Court submits a proposal, he has already thought about not casting a shade on the work of his employees. Today, when all measures which were taken to combat drug trafficking, as I was informed, helped to improve the situation we must use balanced approaches,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Addressing Chairwoman of the Belarus President Administration Olga Chupris, the head of state gave an instruction to prepare a list of corruption offenders eligible for the reduction of a prison term. “I want you to make up a separate list of corruption offenders. Otherwise, we can release friends and relatives of certain officials from prison. I will look through the list, look to the crimes that they had committed, and decide if we should pardon them or even reduce their prison terms,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, the current situation against the backdrop of spreading coronavirus and concerns in the society, strengthening of personal hygiene measures is a good lesson for people with bad habits. “This is a good lesson for drug addicts ad smokers. We can see it if we look into the number of severe pneumonia cases. And pneumonias aggravated by coronavirus. This is a good lesson; people should think about how they organize their lives after the so-called pandemic.”

The president remarked that many young people were brought to account, many of them are serving their first sentence. Therefore, an instruction was given to consider the possibility to pardon those persons. “We need to acknowledge that adults are also responsible for such youngsters. Parents and teachers failed keep an eye on such youngsters. The lack of preventive measures on behalf of the state system is obvious,” the head of state believes.

“Our objective is to ensure not only the inevitability of punishment for crimes but also to facilitate the socialization of such persons,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state remarked that the measures of punishment for drug crimes are a lesson for everybody. Not only for convicts but also for those who will use this example to realize the inadmissibility of such actions. “They landed up in jail, possibly, we will release them if they are lucky enough. They can infect everybody with this “virus” in the finest sense of this word. They will think whether they should do it again. These are good preventive measures,” Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced.

According to the head of state, lenient attitude to hardened drug dealers going for easy money is inadmissible. “We can only discuss the pardon of people who pose no threat to the society and the state,” the president stressed. “People sometimes make mistakes without realizing the seriousness of their crimes. If relatives and, first of all, parents pass word for them, we will consider their requests. We can give them a chance to start a new life under their personal responsibility. We will keep an eye on them. But if they return to their dirty business or start using drugs, of course, they will be brought back to prison and spend a lot of time there.”

The pardon commission will scrutinize all pardon petitions, analyze the attitude of those persons to their crimes and their future plans. “We need a certain mechanism. Otherwise, you will bury yourselves in hundreds and thousands of petitions. Lower-level commissions should consider these petitions and make proposals first. And you need to seriously monitor the process,” the head of state instructed Olga Chupris.

He remarked that, of course, a final decision will be made by the president. “But I want to warn you that the entire vertical will be responsible for those decisions, all those who will submit proposals will be responsible. We must understand that this is not an attempt to reduce a burden on prisons. The number of prisoners in our country has reduced 2-3 times since Soviet times. Besides, we should not be tied to chariot of some spontaneously created groups like Mothers 328. We should work as planned. Therefore, it is essential to consider all things once again and to determine approaches,” the head of state concluded.