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Sri Lanka's Supreme Court stays capital punishment till Nov 10


Press Trust of India Colombo
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the stay order till November 10 against a move by President Maithripala Sirisena to reinstate capital punishment in the country for the first time since 1976 before he leaves office next month.
Sri Lanka has maintained a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment.
However, Sirisena in June this year announced that he has signed the death warrants of four drug convicts and that the executions will take place soon.
Later, the move was stayed till October 29 by the Supreme Court after it took into consideration a number of petitions filed against the President's order, that termed the order as a violation of the fundamental rights of the convicts.
Sri Lanka has been grappling with drug-related crimes for many years and officials say it is being used by dealers as a transit centre.
Sirisena is due to leave office immediately after the announcement of the results of the November 16 Presidential polls.
MA Sumanthiran, a lawyer, filed a case claiming that Sirisena's decision impinges on the rights of one of the drug convicts.
"The case argument was that hanging would be a cruel and degrading treatment," Sumanthiran said.
There were 11 more fundamental rights petitions against the hanging.
Sirisena became the country's first ever president since 1978 to sign death warrants to carry out capital punishment.
Sirisena during a recent public gathering said that he would get executed the death sentence of at least one convict before his term ended.
Sirisena had drawn international ire for his decision to resume the capital punishment in Sri Lanka. It has continuously voted in favour of the UN moratorium on death penalty.
Sri Lanka's last hangman retired in 2014, but officials said they had selected two out of 26 candidates to succeed him.
Their names are being kept secret for fear of attacks.
Sirisena, who is not re-contesting for the presidential office, and his party have extended the support to Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna leader Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is also the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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First Published: Oct 29 2019 | 4:40 PM IST

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