Andrei Paluda: “Just think for a moment, how does the killing of a killer take place?!”

Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against Death Penalty"
Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against Death Penalty"

In Belarus, the Week against the Death Penalty is held for the second year already. The main message of this year's Week is "Death penalty is murder". The week against the death penalty will be accompanied by very expressive images of the performers of the death penalty and the victim.

According to Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign "Human rights
defenders against the death penalty", these images let us to imagine what happens at the last moment, when the punishment is carried out.

-This year, the week against the death penalty is accompanied by a very clear visual images causing "creeps" ...

“Yes, it's a short video for the Internet - the executioner and the victim, stylized figures, made
by prisoners in a cell out of bread. And the figures - the executioner in the pose of the aggressor and the victim before being shot down. The author of these figures is Viktar Tratsiakou, known as the author of the films "Cause of Death Left Blank", "Departed on Sentence," and "Six Arguments against Death Penalty".

Our main goal is to make people
imagine at least for a moment what happens on death row in the very center of Minsk, in jail №1 in Valadarski Street. We walk or pass by this building every day, but can not even imagine what is going on in its cellars. There are many people who support the death penalty, but see the death penalty only as abstract justice. They don't care how this justice is administered. Meanwhile, several months pass between sentencing and execution itself, which the prisoner spends in full nervous tension - he is not informed about the date and time of execution, and waits for it all the time. These are the times in which the offender turns into a victim. At this point, the convict develops an acute hearing, listening to every sound and step, waiting to be lead to the execution..

- How did you find about that?

Only convicts, guards and executioners really know whatis going on in these cells. We, the human rights activists, learn about it from several sources ... First of all, from what we were told by the former chief of the prison in Valdarski Street Aleh Alkayeu, whom we visited him in Germany during the filming of "Departed on Sentence". We just talked on the subject: what happens in the cells of the people sentenced to death. Aleh Alkayeu then said something that is very memorable, "All your interests will be broken byprison walls". We can not, of course, see through walls ... But through the images that we have prepared for the Week against the death penalty, we are trying to somewhat lift the veil of secrecy which is created around this topic.

- Why is there this "veil of secrecy"?

- It is because of the death penalty is murder. And
the executioners are aware of it, as well as the judges who pass such sentences.

- Why have you chosen this form - figures from bread?

- Since 1998, the Human Rights Center "Viasna"
has been receiving letters from death row convicts in different ways. The first ones who wrote to “Viasna” were Ivan Famin and Siarhei Pratsirayeu. Mr. Famin was executed by shooting in 1998. Siarhei Pratsirayeu's sentence was mitigated, and he was transferred to the cell-type prison in Hlybokaye, from which he continues correspondence with “Viasna”. He even used to receive the bulletin “Right to Freedom”. An activist of our campaign, writer and screenwriter Palina Kachatkova wrote letters to him.

We also received letters from Andrei Zhuk, executed in March 2010. In these letters, there are some everyday details about how the people sentenced to death spend their free time. They have crosswords, sudoku, books (for the more educated ones). For instance, Andrei Zhuk wrote in his letters that his cell-mate Vasil Yuzepchuk, who was almost illiterate, tried to overcome the fear of death song "I'll get in the cabrio and will go away somewhere" ... Although it is impossible to go from there anywhere, just "depart on sentence". From these letters we also found about figures from bread, which are made by prisoners. That's why we decided to use this form to convey to people the horror of the death penalty. We call even advocates of this kind of punishment to think for a moment how the killing of a killer takes place.


Book «Capital punishment in Belarus»


Death verdics in Belarus since 1990