Sri Lanka announced on Wednesday that it will start hanging drug criminals, ending a moratorium on capital punishment, as officials promised to “replicate the success” of the Philippines drug war.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs since coming to power in 2016 has left thousands of people dead and prompted allegations of crimes against humanity.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told the Cabinet that he “was ready to sign the death warrants” of repeat drug offenders and deploy the military to tackle drug crime, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. “From now on, we will hang drug offenders without commuting their death sentences,” Rajitha Senaratne said. “We were told that the Philippines has been successful in deploying the army and dealing with this problem. We will try to replicate their success,” he said.
Last execution in 1976
Sri Lanka has commuted death sentences for serious crimes to life in prison since 1976, when the last execution took place. Mr. Senaratne said there were 19 drug offenders whose death sentences had been commuted to life. It was not clear if they would be hanged. Amnesty International responded swiftly, urging Colombo not to press ahead.
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