"I appeal to the consciences of those who govern to reach an international consensus to abolish the death penalty… The commandment 'you shall not kill' has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty," the Pope said, as quoted by the ITV television channel.
According to the United Nations, over 160 member states have either abolished death penalty or do not practice it. The organization has repeatedly called for abolition of capital punishment.
Russia suspended the death penalty indefinitely in 1999, although it was retained in the Constitution. The capital punishment by firing squad is reserved for especially severe offenses, such as aggravated murder and genocide.