02/23/2019, 08.14
Send to a friend

Sirisena tries to silence activists opposed to the death penalty

by Melani Manel Perera

The president lifted a ban on death sentences for drug-related crimes. The Constitutional Council and the Human Rights Commission claim the right to defend everyone, including jailed criminals.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Two Sri Lankan institutions that defend human rights, including the rights of prisoners, have criticised President Maithripala Sirisena's decision to restore the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

Mr Sirisena has tried to silence them by saying that many other countries in the world have capital punishment.

Instead of being intimidated, the two organisations have reiterated their absolute independence and made public a declaration signed by more than 100 people and 15 civil society associations.

The issue began in early February when President Sirisena announced that his government was lifting a 43-year moratorium. At present, the government is seeking to hire two executioners.

Drug dealers and drug traffickers already behind bars are the first who could face the hangman.

The president's decision, by his own admission, followed a meeting he had with his Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte.

The latter is leading a no hold barred war on drugs that has officially caused the death of 5,000 people (activists claim the actual number of victims tops 12,000).

In Sri Lanka, the Catholic Church, the country’s Constitutional Council (CC) and the Human Rights Commission (HRCS) have criticised the president’s move.

For his part, Sirisena told Parliament on 6 February that bodies like the CC and the HRCS should support the state in its fight against the drug mafia, and not hinder it by protecting the rights of criminals behind bars.

In their defence, the two institutions said that president is duty bound to support and respect their independence.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Sri Lanka advertises job vacancy for hangman
13/02/2019 11:45
Like Duterte, Sirisena wants to restore the death penalty for drug dealers
09/02/2019 14:51
Priest: Sirisena, as a Buddhist, should be against the death penalty
16/02/2019 12:24
Duterte: No problem if Jakarta decides to execute Mary Jane Veloso
12/09/2016 12:48
Vice President says Duterte's war on drugs is a huge ‘failure'
07/01/2020 15:47


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”