Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sri Lanka undecided on implementing death penalty

The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said it has not yet taken a policy decision on the implementation of the death penalty.

External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatillaka Amunugama said the issue that the death penalty should or should not be implemented in Sri Lanka has been debated in society in recent times.

"However the government has not taken a policy decision on this," he told reporters.

Sri Lanka had recently abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly in favour of abolishing the death penalty.

The draft resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 41 against, with 34 abstentions.

Amunugama said he had advised officials in New York to abstain from voting at the UN General Assembly as Sri Lanka had not taken a policy decision on the death penalty.

However while Sri Lanka contemplates the implementation of the death penalty it has also begun recruiting hangmen.

Interviews to select the suitable candidates were carried out last year and four people had been selected from the final list.

The Prisons Department hopes to select two people from the final list and they will be appointed as the hangmen.

Over 1,600 people are on death row and serving life in prison in Sri Lanka, the Prisons Department said.

Source: Xinhua, January 2, 2013