Following a denial of responsibility for the Easter Sunday attack, Former Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, claimed that the Easter Sunday attack, which killed over 250 people, was planned to disrupt his heavy-handed war on drugs.
Speaking at a rally in Higurakgoda, Sirisena claimed that he successfully launched a campaign to end drug-related crimes in Sri Lanka which would include implementing the death penalty for drug trafficking. Sirisena’s campaign was widely panned by human rights activists and the international community. His campaign drew influence from the Philippines authoritarian leader, President Duterte. Sri Lanka's former Army commander had stated that they would conduct the war on drugs in a similar fashion to the war against the LTTE.
Sirisena was prevented from implementing the death penalty by the Supreme Court. He has stated that drug traffickers filed the case in the Supreme Court and that drug dealers are conspiring to kill him.
His draconian “war on drugs” has been continued by the Rajapaksa presidency as he has established a heavily militarised task force to tackle the “drug menace” as well as to tackle “anti-social behaviour”. The heavily militarised composition of the task force, which includes senior military figures accused of war crimes, as well as the lack of transparent accountability, has led international experts to describe the task force as a threat to the rule of law.
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