Sri Lanka leader ends 43-year moratorium on capital punishment

A condemned inmate sits in a cell at the Welikada Prisons complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka on July 26, 2018. The country's president said Wednesday he will end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment. Photo by EPA-EFE

Feb. 8 (UPI) — Sri Lanka will end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and begin hanging condemned inmates within a couple months, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

Sirisena told Sri Lanka Parliament Wednesday convicted drug dealers will be executed in the next two or three months as part of a national narcotics crackdown.

He added that prisoners in the country’s Welikada Prison will be transferred to the high security Angunakolapelessa Prison, since Welikada had become a base for distributing drugs.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s aggressive war against traffickers inspired Sirisena to implement the crackdown.

Sirisena has praised Duterte’s campaign and had hinted for months at a possible return to capital punishment.

“We need stringent laws to make a law-abiding and spiritual society,” he told lawmakers. “The country is now proliferated with various drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ice. Come what may, I will put into practice the decision I took to implement the death penalty within next two to three months.”

“I request human rights organizations not to object to the move to implement the death penalty as it is done to control the drug menace and underworld activities in Sri Lanka,” he added.

The last person to be executed in Sri Lanka’s occurred in 1976. After that time, the country continued to impose death sentences but didn’t carry them out.

Nearly 1,300 prisoners, including 84 women, are on death row in Sri Lanka.


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