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Russia's Supreme Court (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) April 5, 2006 -- Envoys of the Council of Europe are urging Russia to drop the death penalty as the country prepares to take over the rotating presidency of Europe's top human rights body in May.

Luc Van den Brande of Belgium and Theodoros Pangalos of Greece, who monitor Russia's compliance with the council, said Russia's failure to abolish capital punishment was a concern.

But the head of the Russian lower house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said there is no "stable majority" in parliament in favor of abolishing capital punishment.

Russia has maintained a moratorium on the death penalty since 1996, when it joined the Council of Europe.


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