Sri Lanka firm on executing drug dealers, committee to decide dates: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is firm on executing convicted drug dealers, and will brook no opposition President Maithripala Sirisena said as civil liberties groups and several European countries warned against resuming hangings.

The work on resuming the death penalty will go ahead whatever the opposition there is, a statement from President’s office quoted him as saying.

A meeting of prison, judicial and legal officers had been called for next Tuesday to discuss execution.

A committee will then be appointed who will decide on the persons to be executed and the dates, he had said at the foundation laying ceremony of a hospital which will specialize on kidney diseases, gifted by China.

Several European countries which have ended executions under pressure from liberals, have called on Sri Lanka not to carry out the death penalty.

Though the punishment exists, it had not been carried out for over three decades and the position of executioner fell vacant.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he agreed to a cabinet decision, but he was personally against carrying out the death penalty. In Sri Lanka drug users are also arrested, not just dealers.

The call to resume executions came after police claimed that an imprisoned drug dealer was running a major drug racket from inside the jail.

Samaraweera said in that case the prison system had to be fixed.

He said there were doubts about the claim that death penalty will deter crimes, as was shown in the US where several states had the death penalty. (Colombo/July22/2018)





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