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Russia’s Donbass region takes stance on death penalty

The Donetsk People’s Republic has abolished capital punishment, months after becoming part of the Russian Federation

The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will no longer issue or enforce death sentences in order to comply with Russian laws, it has announced. The decision was made after the republic became part of Russia in September, along with the Lugansk People’s Republic, Zaporozhye Region and Kherson Region.

The move was announced on Thursday by Elena Shishkina, a member of the DPR’s People’s Council. She told TASS news agency that, since joining Russia, the republic has had to adjust its legislation so that it “does not contradict the federal one.”

“Law enforcement agencies are guided by the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of the Russian Federation,” Shishkina explained, noting that the death penalty would no longer be applied in the DPR, as it does not exist in the code of the Russian Federation.

Shishkina added that current death sentences, which were handed down before the DPR became part of Russia, would not be carried out. Back in September, Russian MP Daniil Bessarabov suggested that convicts who had been issued the death penalty in the republic would instead receive life sentences.

The DPR had previously lifted a moratorium on executions in July 2022. During that same month, authorities issued death penalties to two fighters from the Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, as well as two mercenaries from the UK and one from Morocco. However, the republic ultimately did not carry out any of the sentences and those foreign fighters have since been released.

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FILE PHOTO: Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR).
Russian party leader urges return of death penalty

Capital punishment has not been used in Russia since 1996. In 1998, then-president Boris Yeltsin established a moratorium on the practice, and Russia’s Constitutional Court has since introduced other provisions that make it legally impossible to apply the penalty in criminal cases.

However, some lawmakers have recently called for the restoration of the death penalty in some cases, specifically for terrorism and pedophilia. Such proposals have come from the left-wing A Just Russia – For Truth party, and recently from the nationalist LDPR party following an attack in St. Petersburg that killed popular military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin also suggested back in June that the death penalty should be kept in the DPR, arguing that such a punishment was appropriate in wartime and befitting of “fascists” who intentionally bomb residential areas, hospitals and schools.

April 06, 2023 at 05:25PM

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