KYRGYZSTAN: LAWMAKERS REJECT UN DEATH PENALTY BAN
November 11, 2009: Lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan voted to reject a United Nations protocol banning the death penalty in a move sharply criticized by human rights activists.
The decision not to adopt the optional protocol to the 1989 U.N. covenant on civil rights signals that the former Soviet nation may be set to reverse recent reforms that led to the removal of the death penalty from its statute books.
But the rejection of the U.N. protocol could lead to reinstatement of the death penalty.
Government-backed Ak Zhol party lawmaker Askar Salymbekov said his faction's decision to vote against the U.N. protocol reflected public opinion. ``Around 80 per cent to 90 per cent of our population is for imposing the death penalty,'' he said.
Rights activists say the move is unconstitutional and could lead to backsliding on democracy.
``The introduction of the death penalty would be a threat to everybody who lives in our country,'' said Tolekan Ismailov, executive director of the Citizens Against Corruption rights group. ``If Kyrgyzstan takes this step, it will be condemned by many international organizations.'' (Sources: Ap, 11/11/2009)