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Signing a death warrant is not the solution to drug menace: Silva to President

Bar Association of Sri Lanka President U.R. de Silva has categorically told President Maithripala Sirisena that signing a death warrant is not the solution to the drug menace in the island.

He was responding to President Sirisena's plans to execute 19 death-row prisoners convicted of drug trafficking. He stated that first and foremost the President should discuss his decision to implement the death penalty with relevant departments such as the Attorney General's Department, the Prison Department, the Justice Ministry and the Bar Association. That does not mean the President cannot make the decision, but it should be a well-considered thing.

He went on that the problem is two-folded. There is a seemingly lack of process in making this decision, and with the effectiveness of such a decision. It is the duty of the Police Department to find out what happened. The authorities of the Police Department should be summoned and questioned as to how these incidents happen. These prisoners could have been confined to separate cells, prohibited from using mobile phones so that they would have had limited outdoor access. Even their meals could have been prescribed.

He also pointed out the impact this proposal by President Sirisena would have at the international leve. We have agreed upon with other countries. Sri Lanka has made international commitments. As a country Sri Lanka has repeatedly and recently voted in favour of a moratorium on implementing the death penalty at the UN General Assembly.


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