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Sri Lanka recruiting 2 hangmen before resuming death penalty

AP  |  Colombo 

Sri Lankan prison authorities are recruiting two hangmen after the pledged to end a 43-year moratorium on and execute condemned drug traffickers amid alarm over drug-related crime in this island nation.

Interviews of the candidates will be conducted next month and two will be hired, said Wednesday.

The advertisement that appeared in the state-run on Monday said applicants should have "an excellent moral character" and should pass a test conducted to check the "mind and mental strength." The candidates must be Sri Lankan men between 18 and 45.

Their monthly salary would be Sri Lankan rupees 36,410 (USD 203).

The move to hire hangmen comes after said executions will resume in the next two months for condemned drug traffickers, vowing to be tough on drug offenders and modelling his country's drug fight after the

Sirisena visited the in January and praised Rodrigo Duterte's drug crackdown as "an example to the world." Thousands of suspects have been killed since Duterte took office in 2016, and rights groups have denounced the killings as extrajudicial executions.

last executed a prisoner in 1976. At the time, prisoners were hanged.

is predominantly Buddhist, a religion which advocates non-violence.

Sirisena has said while the country has had positive influences from all religions, is necessary to curb crime and maintain order. Recent of narcotics have raised suspicions that the country has become a hub.

has 1,299 prisoners facing death sentences, including 48 convicted of drug offenses.

Police have intensified efforts to crack down on drugs, seizing 90 kilograms (198 pounds) of heroin from a luxury apartment in Colombo last month. Two Americans, two Sri Lankans and an Afghan were arrested. On Tuesday, a total 110 kilograms (242 pounds) of drugs were seized from two locations near the capital.

Giada Girelli, a with the group, said previously there is no evidence executions would effectively deter drug use or trafficking.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 15:50 IST