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President vows to push ahead with death penalty for drug traffickers

The Sri Lankan president yesterday reiterated his pledge to push ahead with the implementation of the death penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking, despite widespread criticism over the decision. 

Meeting with law enforcement officials at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, amid the island's ongoing political crisis, Sirisena said "necessary steps should be instantly taken to implement the recently taken decision to enforce the death penalty against the persons who still engaged in drug trafficking activities even after they have been convicted, for the future of the country, the nation and future generation."

"Due to the failure of the relevant institutions to submit the required documents related to the persons that the death penalty should be implemented, the decision to implement the death penalty has been delayed and an investigation will be held in this regard in the near future," he further added. 

Sirisena's decision earlier this year came despite warnings that implementing the death penalty could lead to the loss of GSP-Plus preferential trade concession from the European Union. 

Several Western states, including the European Union, wrote to Sri Lanka’s president last week expressing their opposition to the reported resumption of capital punishment.