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October 30 2009 | RUSSIA

Russia

The Moscow Patriarchate against the resumption of death penalty

 
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Interfax

Russian has enough “inner strength” not to practice death penalty, the Russian Church believes

 

Moscow, October 30. The Moscow Patriarchate believes Russia should abstain from practicing death penalty.

“Certainly, it’s better not to practice death penalty: if society is strong enough to secure itself from criminality and evil will, it can be merciful to criminals and not deprive them of life”,  head of the Synodal Church and Society Department Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax-Religion on Friday.

He reminded, “Russia didn’t practice death penalty in its best periods and usually such practice was directly connected with Christian outlook”.

“It’s true, the Old Testament gives direct instructions to execute certain people and the New Testament doesn’t negate death penalty either. However, Christian society is always aimed at maximum mercy, to give time for repentance even to desperate sinners and it was reflected in practice of Christian states”, the priest noted.

He expressed opinion, that “today the country has enough inner strength not to practice death penalty”, but urged to “.remember that criminals should not feel themselves unpunished and operation of law should be inevitable”.

The final abolition of the death penalty was among the obligations that Russia assumed when it entered the Council of Europe. Death penalty sentences cannot be handed out in Russia until jury trials are put in place in all Russian regions under a ruling issued by the Constitutional Court. Jury trials will begin in the Chechen Republic on January 1, 2010.

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