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Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court delays death penalty

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has granted interim relief in a petition filed by a death row prisoner who was due to be executed by the state, delaying the death penalty until at least October of this year.

As many as twellve petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the implementation of the death penalty on the island after a 43 year moratorium, a move which has sparked international condemnation. Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena had vowed to push ahead with implementation despite the outrage.

However, today’s Supreme Court decision has stayed any implementation until October 29th, when Fundamental Rights petitions would be taken up again.

Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said “the temporary reprieve given to these death row prisoners should become permanent and their death sentences should be commuted immediately”.

"The only sensible thing to do is to heed these voices, respect human rights and stay true to Sri Lanka’s record of shunning executions for more than four decades, and abolish the death penalty once and for all.”

See more from Amnesty International here.