Govt. faces legal challenges in bid to resume hangings
Posted on June 30th, 2019

by Amal Jayasinghe Courtesy The Island

President Maithripala Sirisena is facing fresh legal challenges in his attempt to end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and start executing drug convicts, officials said Sunday.

Two petitions were filed in the Court of Appeal Friday seeking an order quashing any move by Maithripala Sirisena to resume executions, which have not been carried out since the last hanging in June 1976.

“The Court of Appeal will have a preliminary hearing next week. In the meantime, the prisons commissioner has given an assurance to court that there will be no hangings,” a court official told AFP.

On Wednesday, Sirisena said he has completed formalities to resume hangings by signing the death warrants of four condemned drug convicts. He did not say when the executions would be carried out.

Justice ministry sources said they were yet to fill the vacancies for two hangmen, although more than a dozen candidates had been shortlisted for the job.

Although the last execution was more than four decades ago, an executioner was in post until his retirement in 2014. Three replacements since have quit after short stints at the unused gallows.

There has been a mounting chorus of international criticism of Sirisena’s announcement.

Justice ministry sources said, however, there would have to be a lengthy administrative process before an execution took place.

A High Court judge who condemned a convict would have to make a fresh recommendation whether to carry out the death penalty or not. The condemned prisoner also has the option of making a clemency plea to the president.

“I have signed the death warrants of four,” Sirisena told reporters at his official residence on Wednesday.

“They have not been told yet. We don’t want to announce the names yet because that could lead to unrest in prisons.”

One Response to “Govt. faces legal challenges in bid to resume hangings”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    What a dysfunctional country!

    But accused and convicted bigwigs get away by some loophole all the time. Then the administrative processes work very fast. They stall only when nationally beneficial things are in the pipeline.

    Hanging them is legal and far more civilised than just shooting them dead when hiding under tables in prisons.

    Prisoners who sacrifice their valuable lives will teach intended drug dealers a frieghtening lesson. If it deters one each (at least) it would be meritorious.

    Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. have narcotics and grave crimes under control thanks to the death penalty.

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