Sri Lanka president signs four death warrants to end decades long moratorium

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“Implementation of the death penalty will inevitably make it more difficult for the UK to cooperate on law enforcement issues, including on counter terrorism, and will require us to review our technical assistance programmes on relevant policing, defence and other security issues.” 

The government has been fighting a war against drugs in the past two years and has identified school children and university students as major targets of the drug mafia.

Mr Sirisena said that there are 200,000 drug addicts in the country. Of the 24,000 convicts in prison, 60 percent are serving sentences for drug related crimes.

Criminals in Sri Lanka are given death sentences for murder, rape, and drug-related crimes. However since 1976 their sentences have been commuted to life imprisonment.

Mr Sirisena’s decision to reintroduce the death penalty has been strongly opposed by the Buddhist clergy and international rights groups.

London based Amnesty International, which has repeatedly called on Mr Sirisena to halt his plans on resuming executions, said it was “outraged” at the decision to execute the four men, and hopes he will “reconsider his decision.”

“We are outraged that the President has signed the first execution warrants issued by Sri Lanka in 43 years. In one stroke, he will undo all the country’s progress in putting a stop to the use of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.



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