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Sri Lanka to resume executions of drug convicts: Sirisena

Posted in S. Asia

Published on February 10, 2019 with No Comments

Following visit to the Philippines, president says is committed to bringing back capital punishment for drug offenders.

Inspired by a similar crackdown in the Philippines, the president of Sri Lanka has said a decades-old moratorium on the death penalty will end within months with the hanging of drug convicts.

In comments made to parliament  Maithripala Sirisena said he was committed to bringing back capital punishment for drug offenders, months after vowing a tougher line on spiralling narcotics-related crime. “I hope to carry out the first hanging within a month or two,” he said. “I appeal to human rights organisations not to try to pressure us on this decision.”

Criminals in Sri Lanka are regularly given death sentences for murder, rape and drug-related crimes but until now their punishments have been commuted to life imprisonment. Following a visit to the Philippines in January, Sirisena said he wanted to copy President Rodrigo Duterte’s  ruthless tactics in dealing with illegal drugs. Duterte ran on a law-and-order platform that included controversial promises to kill thousands of people involved in the drug trade, even officials.

“The war against crime and drugs carried out by you is an example to the whole world, and personally to me,” Sirisena said in a speech after meeting Duterte in the Philippines last month. “Drug menace is rampant in my country and I feel that we should follow your footsteps to control this hazard.”

 

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