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Sri Lanka seeks hangman after death penalty revived

AFP  |  Colombo 

is looking for an to fill the vacant position of state hangman, prison officials said today, after ended the island's moratorium on capital punishment.

said a job advertisement would be placed next week for the post of hangman after announced drug traffickers would be put to death instead of left in jail for life.

has not executed a prisoner since 1976. Criminals are regularly given death sentences for murder, rape and drug-related crimes but their punishments have been commuted to life.

The island still officially employs a state executioner, but since 2014 all three hangmen who have filled the post have quit after short stints at the vacant gallows.

"The previous executioners deserted the post," Upuldeniya told AFP.

"But, we have to be ready to carry out executions after the government decision this week." A salary of 35,000 rupees (USD 220) per month will be offered to the successful candidate, he said.

This week, said would return to hanging prisoners convicted of repeat drug offences as his administration announced a crackdown on narcotics.

Authorities say a tougher approach is needed to combat what they say is an increase in drug-related crime.

Sirisena said Tuesday he was "ready to sign the death warrants" of traffickers and deploy the military to tackle drug crime.

"From now on, we will hang drug offenders without commuting their death sentences," said.

"We were told that the has been successful in deploying the and dealing with this problem. We will try to replicate their success," he said. Upuldeniya said there were 373 convicts on death row in Sri Lanka, including 18 for serious drug crimes.

"If the starts signing death warrants, we should be able to carry out his orders. As far as the gallows is concerned, we are ready. All we need is the in place," Upuldeniya said.

Nearly 900 other prisoners had been handed the death penalty for various crimes but have appealed their sentences.

has urged Sri Lanka not to revive capital punishment.

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

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 18:30 IST