Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday signed a law introducing the death penalty for “state treason” committed by government and military officials, state news agency Belta reported.
Additionally, the law introduces criminal liability for “propaganda” of terrorism, discrediting of the country’s armed forces, other troops and military formations, paramilitary organizations, and violation of requirements for the protection of state secrets.
Belarus’ parliament last year passed a bill that would impose the death penalty for “high treason, in order to prevent” possible actions by “destructive elements” in the country, which Lukashenko signed into law on Thursday.
Human rights group Amnesty last year called the law the “latest display of Belarusian authorities’ profound disregard for human rights.”
Belarus’ role in the Ukraine war: Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in February that “there is no way we are going to send our troops to Ukraine unless you are going to commit aggression against Belarus.”
“But don’t forget Russia is our ally — legally, morally and politically,” he added.
Lukashenko’s government has claimed on numerous occasions that Ukrainian drones and missiles have entered its territory, sometimes without providing evidence.
Belarus helped Russia launch its initial invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, allowing the Kremlin’s troops to enter the country through the Ukrainian-Belarusian border north of Kyiv.