EU tells Lanka it opposes death penalty “unequivocally”
Posted on July 16th, 2018

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, July 16: The Delegation of the European Union, the missions of the EU Member States in Sri Lanka, as well as the diplomatic missions of the Governments of Canada and Norway in Sri Lanka, have written to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to verify the worrying information in the public domain about the intention of the Sri Lankan government to resume implementing the death penalty after a moratorium of more than 40 years.”

The diplomatic missions made it known to the President that they strongly and unequivocally oppose capital punishment in all circumstances and in all cases.”

The letter further said: The death penalty is incompatible with human dignity, does not have any proven deterrent effect, and allows judicial errors to become fatal and irreversible.”

EU tells Lanka it opposes death penalty “unequivocally”

The diplomatic missions have requested the President to maintain the moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty and to uphold Sri Lanka’s tradition of opposition to capital punishment.

Background

Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan President had publicly stated that he would start signing death warrants in the case of drug traffickers who continue to deal in drugs even while being in the death row.

The President said this after customs and police had seized huge consignments of drugs in the past two and a half years. The recent seizure of  104 kg of heroin worth US$ 7.5 million was the last draw on his back.

Meanwhile, the drug taking habit had been growing  among the youth in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was ceasing to be a transit point and was slowly becoming a destination for drugs.

Subsequently, the President submitted a paper to the cabinet asking for its approval to revive capital punishment for drug dealers who continue to play their trade even from the death row. Though courts continued to give the death sentence for murder, terrorism and drug trafficking, there was a moratorium on executions since 1976.

The cabinet approved the paper even though many key ministers from the alliance partner, United National Party (UNP), spoke against it.

Since then, the media has been carrying views both for and against the re-imposition of the death penalty.

While the average citizen was for judicial executions, the intelligentsia were against it saying that it is not a deterrent. Human rights activists like Amnesty International brought out the issue of innocents, the poor and the marginally involved, being sent to the gallows while the well connected and the wealthy escaped.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in a statement that the kingpins of the drug trade could be from the highest echelons of society who are members of posh clubs.

President Sirisena with Finance Mangala Samaraweera

He further said: Certain individuals connected to the drug trade try to cover their sins by being benefactors of society, holding high positions in various organizations or as philanthropists in religious organizations.”

Others asked why police and prison officials who willfully allow drug trafficking in jails and gain by it should not be sentenced to death and hanged.

In Sri Lanka the death sentence is given for possessing or trafficking more than 2 gm of dangerous narcotics like heroin or cocaine.

According to the police, there are 18 drug traffickers in the death row. Their names have been sent to the President for further action.

But the million dollar question is: Will the President sign the death warrants, given the international opposition and legal arguments against the selective application of judicial execution.

The President cannot selectively apply execution to one class of crime when there is a moratorium on all executions .It will be a violation of the constitutional right to equality before the law,” said Colombo University senior lecturer of law, V.T.Thamilmaran.

Additionally, Sri Lanka is already facing human rights issues in the UN Human Rights Council and is a co-sponsor of a resolution on them. Sri Lanka will invite censure in the UNHRC if it re-introduces judicial executions,” Thamilmaran added.

(The featured image at the top shows the Welikade prison in Colombo)

4 Responses to “EU tells Lanka it opposes death penalty “unequivocally””

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    PICTURES OF TWO MUGS

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    PICTURES OF THESE TWO MUGS, MUST BE HUNG ALL OVER THIS GROTESQUE EDIFICE, AND HIGH-LIGHTED THAT THEY ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO DRINK THE BLOOD OF THE OCCUPANTS. MEANWHILE, ALL PASSENGERS IN THE PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARIAT, AND THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE, WHO ARE TWIDDLING THEIR THUMBS, CAN BE PUT TO CLEAN UP THE MOSS ON THE WALLS, AND GET THEM TO WHITEWASH THE WALLS, TO GIVE A PLEASANT ENVIRONMENT TO THE UNFORTUNATE OCCUPANTS. ***The occupants should be informed, that THE EU, intervened graciously to save their lives*** from these two VAMPIRES.

  3. Hiranthe Says:

    Now we can see how Yahaps react. They were not giving the deserving credit to MR for the continuation and finishing of the war against the killer Velu and his psychopaths despite the strong opposition from EU and USA.

    Sirisena must be urinating in his sarong.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    Here we go again!

    Strangely, some “patriots” also share the same view of the EU on the death penalty. Field Marshal Fonseka who increasingly makes sensible statements expressed serious doubt if Sirisena will ever do this. I share his doubts.

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