Death penalty: Sajith’s position contrary to Lanka’s stand

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa has called for immediate re-imposition of the capital punishment though Sri Lanka has assured the UN and EU that the death penalty will not be carried out.

Hambantota District MP Premadasa has urged the government to hang those who had been found guilty of narcotic related offences.

Premadasa said capital punishment was needed as a deterrent to tackle the growing drug menace. The UNP Deputy Leader was addressing a gathering after handing over a passenger bus worth Rs 2.1 mn to Debarawewa National School last week.

Sri Lanka suspended death penalty in mid 70s.

Referring to a spate of high profile detection of heroin as well as an attack on the sleuths of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) at Piliyandala in the recent past, Minister Premadasa assured that the yahapalana government would never protect heroin dealers. The Janadhipathi Mandiraya and Temple Trees wouldn’t intervene on behalf of heroin dealers, Minister Premadasa said, adding that law enforcement authorities had been given instructions to deal with the problem firmly.

Minister Premadasa said that he felt the re-implementation of the death penalty was required to save children from the heroin menace.

Minister Premasdasa said Sri Lanka could follow the Singaporean and Indonesian example in dealing with heroin convicts.

However, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) U. R. de Silva, PC, yesterday told The Island that lucrative heroin trade couldn’t be tackled by the implementation of the death penalty. Calling for cohesive law enforcement and judicial efforts to tackle the import and distribution network, de Silva said that they would have to take various agreements now in place, an obvious reference to Sri Lanka’s international commitments.

The lawyer emphasized the pivotal importance of improving and enhancing investigation procedures. Acknowledging that there had been shortcomings on the part of law enforcement authorities, the recently elected BASL chief said that an efficient system should be put in place to rehabilitate those who had been arrested for heroin offences first time.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera last September reassured the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that death penalty wouldn’t be implemented.

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