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Lithuanian parliament speaker retracts his statements on death penalty

Vydas Gedvilas
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Vydas Gedvilas
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuanian Parliamentary Speaker Vydas Gedvilas says that his statements made last week about death penalty were spontaneous and that he would like to emphasize that crime must be fought by way of prevention.

Gedvilas says he objects reinstatement of capital punishment: "No, definitely not now."

"Sometimes, when there is a case, you spontaneously think that we may need to. That is what I said – it would take serious thought. Of course, we are a member of the European Union (EU), we have assumed certain commitments, none of the EU member-states have capital punishment. Without a doubt, there should be more prevention," Gedvilas told Žiniu Radijas news radio on Wednesday.

After a violent murder of a teenager in a suburb of Panevėžys, northern Lithuania, in September, the ruling Order and Justice Party has proposed to reinstate capital punishment.

A week ago, the parliamentary speaker stated that the death penalty should be given "very serious thought." Gedvilas of the Labor Party even said he "may raise a hand" in support of the proposal.

This Wednesday, however, the official said his last week's statements were a rush of anger.

Lithuania has ratified the protocol of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on elimination of death penalty, while the Constitutional Court has ruled that the penalty is inconsistent with the country's main law.

Article 2 of the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights stipulates that no one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

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