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Lanka mulls reintroducing death penalty

Even as it has 273 prisoners on death row, Sri Lankan government plans to reintroduce capital punishment due to rising number of heinous crimes.

world Updated: Jul 26, 2009 16:15 IST

Even as it has 273 prisoners on death row, Sri Lankan government plans to reintroduce capital punishment due to rising number of heinous crimes.

The new Justice and Law Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda is slated to discuss the possibility of implementing the death penalty with President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a result of increase in number of crimes in the country.

According to officials, there are about 273 prisoners in death row but they could not be hanged without the approval of the President. The last person to be executed in Sri Lanka was Maru Sira in 2003.

"Serious crimes have been on the increase in the recent past. Despite the human rights issues, the implementation of capital punishment has acted as a deterrent for those committing such crimes in many countries.

"Even in the USA, several states have executed those convicted of serious crimes," Justice and Law Reforms Secretary Suhada Gamlath said.

The prison authorities have been compelled to provide security to a large number of death row prisoners, Gamlath told reporters last week.

Organised crime, major armed robberies and heinous crimes are rapidly increasing and the law enforcement authorities are battling in vain to control them, he said, adding that reintroduction of capital punishment must be considered.