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Abolishing death penalty as bad as letting Easter attackers go free – President

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday likened calls to abolish the death penalty to attempts to pardon the Easter Sunday attackers.

If a bill presented to Parliament proposing the abolishing of the death penalty is passed, he said, those presenting that bill must also want the masterminds of the Easter bombings to go unpunished.

The President made these remarks speaking at a ceremony held at the Pelada Rajamaha Viharaya yesterday (16 July).

Abolishing the death penalty, said Sirisena, would prevent the punishment of those convicted of murder, treason and terrorism, all three of which are offences punishable by death, according to the Criminal Procedure Code.

“In our country, we see how even small children and young women are being molested and killed. Poor innocent people are killed. According to the law, the punishment for that is death. If the death penalty is abolished, none of those criminals can be punished, and we will have to call ourselves uncivilized,” Sirisena said.

The President also noted that those responsible for the Easter attacks, including the ones who fled abroad, are now in police custody.

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