Europe

Russia Has No Formal Death Penalty. Here’s How That Might Change.

The attack at a concert hall just outside Moscow that killed 139 people last Friday has prompted some Russians to call for bringing back capital punishment in Russia, and to execute the assailants.

Through a combination of presidential action and court rulings, Russia has had a moratorium on the death penalty for 28 years. And yet capital punishment remains on the books — suspended but not abolished outright.

Russian officials disagree on whether and how it could be resurrected, and the country’s Constitutional Court said on Tuesday that it would look into the matter.

Here is a look at where the issue stands.

Who is advocating or opposing the death penalty?

A number of public figures have demanded execution of the concert hall attackers, described by officials as militant Islamists from Tajikistan, in Central Asia. Such calls have surfaced periodically, particularly after terrorist attacks, but it is not clear how widespread support for them is, and they have prominent opponents, too.

On Monday, Dmitri A. Medvedev, a former president and prime minister of Russia, wrote on Telegram: “Is it necessary to kill them? Necessary. And it will be done.”

He added that everyone who was involved in the attacks, including those who funded and supported them, should be killed.

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