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President Sirisena rejects appeal by UN chief over death penalty

Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, said he rejected an appeal by United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to reconsider his restoration of the death penalty after 43 years.

“I told the Secretary-General that I want to save my country from drugs,” Sirisena said in a meeting in Colombo.

“He telephoned me last week shortly after I signed four death warrants. I told him please allow me to stamp put the drug menace,” Sirisena said.

He also accused the European Union of interfering in Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs.

 “The EU told me that they will withdraw the GSP Plus (tariff concession) if I go ahead. This is interfering with the sovereignty and independence of our country. It is unacceptable.”

Last Wednesday, President Sirisena announced an end to a moratorium on the death penalty. He signed papers authorising the executions of four convicts who sentenced over drug related offences. He did not give their names or when and where the executions will take place.

President Sirisena is facing several court challenges over his decision to reinstate the death penalty.