Anglican church opposes hasty decision to hang
Posted on July 17th, 2018

KANDY: The Anglican Church of Ceylon has taken exception to the government’s decision to resume judicial executions of repeat drug offenders.

A joint statement issued by the Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey and the Bishop of Kurnegala Rt. Rev. Keerthi Fernando says, ‘The Church of Ceylon (Anglican Church) cannot, in any way, agree with the move as it has been a rushed decision without proper reflection against the backdrop of criticism and public disquiet about the spate of gang related murders and shootings in the recent days.

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Full text of the statement by the Rt. Rev. Bishops is as follows: It has been reported that the President and the Cabinet of Ministers have taken a decision to authorize prison authorities to resume the execution of those sentenced to death for drug related crimes and are yet continuing to be involved in the drug trade while in prison.

As Christians, we believe that all people are made in the image of God and are therefore imbued with the spark of the divine within them however obscured and hidden it may be. This is why the taking of human life is expressly condemned by the Church, whether be man or by the state.

The Church of Ceylon (Anglican Church) cannot therefore in any way agree with this move, which we believe has been rushed into without proper reflection in the backdrop of criticism and public disquiet about the spate of gang related murders and shootings in the recent days.

Engagement in criminal activities outside prison by convicted persons cannot take place without the connivance of prison authorities. The government cannot absolve itself from its duty to devise ways of minimizing such occurrences. It must take quick but well designed steps to put into place strong security measures to prevent such incidents and obtain services of experts here and even abroad if required. It cannot resort to hanging people to escape its own obligations.

Sri Lanka halted judicial executions more than 40 years ago. Although several governments in the past have tried to re-imposed the death penalty wiser counsel has always prevailed.

This does not mean that we are unconcerned about the drug menace. We are indeed very deeply concerned by this widespread and very dangerous threat especially to the young people of our country and its consequences on wider society.

The church is willing to join and offer our assistance to the government in this regard in the educational sector.

We therefore re-iterate our opposition to this decision. It is widely spoken including in government circles that is is the ‘sprats’ who are being caught and punished while the ‘sharks’ are allowed to remain free to carry on their business, profitable to many even politicians it is said. The law ought and must be applied in full force equally to all involved in this destructive trade.

6 Responses to “Anglican church opposes hasty decision to hang”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Engagement in criminal activities outside prison by convicted persons cannot take place without the connivance of prison authorities.
    The government cannot absolve itself from its duty to devise ways of minimizing such occurrences.

    It must take quick but well designed steps to put into place strong security measures to prevent such incidents and obtain services of experts here and even abroad if required.

    It cannot resort to hanging people to escape its own obligations.

    I am glad that at least the Anglican Church of Ceylon got the facts right. As a practising buddhist, I am really sad that our Maha Nayakas can not see this cold blooded judicial killing.

    In terms of doctrine the death penalty is clearly inconsistent with Buddhist teaching. Buddhists place great emphasis on non-violence and compassion for all life. The First Precept requires individuals to abstain from injuring or killing any living creature.

    The Buddha did not explicitly speak about capital punishment, but his teachings show no sympathy for physical punishment, no matter how bad the crime.

    An action, even if it brings benefit to oneself, cannot be considered a good action if it causes physical and mental pain to another being. -The Buddha

    #inhumane treatment of an offender does not solve their misdeeds or those of humanity in general – the best approach to an offender is reformatory rather than punitive

    #punishment should only be to the extent to which the offender needs to make amends, and his rehabilitation into society should be of paramount importance

    #punishing an offender with excessive cruelty will injure not just the offender’s mind, but also the mind of the person doing the punishing

  2. Caesar Says:

    Hah…..Hah……. Ha………………..!

    This means RANIL rejects death sentence. Think why?

  3. Randeniyage Says:

    A proper Buddhist will never agree to capital punishment to any offend.

    Western society victims (non-Buddhists) even today comfort themselves seeing that the offender is punished. Before 19th century, western society was built on punishment. Death penalty to teenage Queen Jane of England is a good example of 1500’s English people’s thinking. People were asking for her death for treason. She was the Queen only for few days due to her upbringing under protestant religion and a cunning knight. How on this earth people be happy to execute a teenage girl by beheading ?
    In the 20th century western society reject capital punishment even though a lot of people still enjoy killing murderers. We Buddhist should be happy that westerners are now against Capital Punishment.
    Surely we can stop drugs, murders to a controllable level if a proper “dhramishta palanaya” is established.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    So the Church’s involvement in the education sector (emphasized) can save Sri Lanka from the drug menace! I invite readers to truly understand what it means. I rather share President Sirisena’s view on the matter than this.

    The statement is contradictory. Quote – The law ought and must be applied in full force equally to all involved in this destructive trade.

    For the record, the law clearly states death is the punishment for the possession of more than 2g of heroin. Implementing it is the application of the law “in full force equally to all involved in this destructive trade”.

    Agree with Caesar though he is related to the Catholic Church.

  5. Hiranthe Says:

    Whichever the way it goes under Yahaps doesn’t matter. Gota is the only hope in masterminding the eradication process with re-established intelligence units. He did in the past successfully and will do again. No worries for Mother Lanka.

    The thing to watch is how Yahaps are managing this external pressure and implement the judicial death penalty.

    The whole country is watching. Not only that, the whole world is watching.

    “GEDARA GIYOTH AMBU NASEE; MAGA HITIYOTH THO NASEE”

  6. Nimal Says:

    Religions mustn’t get involved in these matters.

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