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09:33 19-02-2019
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Sri Lanka to begin hangings within months, ending 43-year stay on executions
World | society | 13:41, 07 February 2019 | 475

AKIPRESS.COM - Sri Lanka will begin hanging convicted drug dealers within the next three months, its president has announced, ending a 43-year moratorium on executions as part of a crackdown inspired by the Philippines’ brutal war on drugs, Guardian reports.

Maithripala Sirisena has been praising Rodrigo Duterte’s violent campaign against the drugs trade as an “example to the world” and flagged the possible return of the death penalty for drug dealers last July.

Speaking to parliament on Wednesday evening, he set the first timeline for the executions. “We need stringent laws to make a law abiding and spiritual society,” Sirisena said.

Sirisena, an unpopular president facing a tough re-election battle in 2020, said he had been trying to finalise the death row cases for months but faced delays from his own bureaucracy and because prisoners at risk of death were filing appeals.

Around 20 people with convictions related to drugs are thought to be in line for execution with eight of those cases under appeal.

Sri Lanka last executed a person in 1976. Since then it has sentenced convicted criminals to death but not carried out the punishment. As of December 2018 there were 1,299 prisoners, including 84 women, on death row.

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