The EU welcomes the Secretary General's document on the "Policy of the Council of Europe in relation to the death penalty: challenges and policy options". It is indeed a hall mark achievement that the area of the Council of Europe is free of the death penalty. The EU as member of the Council of Europe shares this pride as well as the regret that there is one country in Europe that still applies the death penalty.
The Russian authorities must ensure that Jehovah’s Witnesses can peacefully enjoy freedom of thought, conscience and religion and freedom of assembly and association rights without further interference, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The Russian authorities need to comply with their international commitments, inter alia, the European Convention on Human Rights and with international human rights standards.