Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has agreed to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers including those who are already facing the death sentence in prisons, an official said on Wednesday.
According to Minister of Buddha Sasana, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, the Cabinet had taken a collective decision to impose the death sentence considering the recent rise in drug-related murders and the revelations of a large amount of drug imports planned by drug traffickers who were already in custody, Xinhua news agency reported.
Following Cabinet approval, 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 carried out 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 103.9 kg of heroin worth Rs 1.2 billion ($7.5 million) in one of the department’s biggest drug busts ever.
In 2016, the Police Narcotics Bureau detected over 900 kg 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 Rs 12 billion ($76 million).