The Sri Lankan government is planning to introduce death penalty against drug traffickers, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that with the increase in international drug trafficking via Sri Lanka, the president is contemplating the re-introduction of death penalty.
According to Sri Lankan law, death penalty can be imposed on drug traffickers, murderers and rapists but it has to be consented by the president.
"For last 35 years, death penalty has not been introduced by the successive executive presidents of this country," Rambukwella said.
"We are a legitimate government with many parties which have different opinions on this," he said, indicating that some the allies of the coalition government were against the capital punishment being reintroduced.
According to the law, death penalty could be imposed on a convict found guilty of possession or trafficking 2 grams of heroin.
However, following a murder of a judge in 2004, the country reinstated death penalty but no president has ratified, and as a result, sentence was automatically commuted to life imprisonment. There are 1,164 death row inmates languishing in jails waiting for execution in island wide prisons.
The British colonial rulers introduced death penalty for murder and 'waging war against the King' after they took over the island in 1815.
In 1959, Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike abolished capital punishment. It was reintroduced when Bandaranaike himself was killed by a gunman in 1959.
When the constitution was rewritten in 1978, the death penalty was modified requiring authorization from the trial judge, the attorney general and the minister of justice and ratification by the president. Since 1976 no death penalty was introduced.
Last edited by kukku baba; 07-06-2012 at 04:55 AM.