LAST_UPDATESat, 21 Jul 2018 9pm

Sri Lanka To Impose Death Penalty For Drug Traffickers

Sri Lankan Supreme CourtSri Lankan Supreme Court

COLOMBO -- The Sri Lankan Cabinet has agreed to implement the death penalty on drug traffickers, including those who are already facing the death sentence in prisons, Minister of Buddha Sasana, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said Wednesday.

Perera said the cabinet ministers had taken a collective decision to impose the death sentence considering the recent rise in drug-related murders and a large amount of drug imports planned by drug traffickers who were already in prison custody.

Following cabinet approval, Xinhua news agency reports that President Maithripala Sirisena had instructed Justice and Prison Reforms Minister, Thalatha Atukorale to prepare the draft bill to implement the death sentence.

Although capital punishment is a legal penalty in Sri Lanka, there have been no executions since 1976.

The Sri Lankan Government recently said the island country had become a transit point for major drug cartels as a consequence of the prolonged illicit activities of the Tamil Tiger rebels who were militarily defeated by government troops in May 2009, following a 30-year civil conflict.

Last week, Sri Lanka's Police Narcotics Bureau seized 103.9kg of heroin worth Rs1.2 billion (US$7.5 million) in one of the department's biggest drug busts ever.

In 2016, Sri Lanka's Police Narcotics Bureau detected over 900kg of cocaine from an India-bound ship which was docked at the Colombo port.

This haul was the largest cocaine seizure recorded in South Asia with an estimated value of Rs12 billion (US$76 million).