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JO & JVP dismiss death penalty statement, question motive

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 13 July 2018 00:00


  • JO questions Government plan to curb drug menace
  • JVP says President’s decision on death penalty arbitrary, no clear motives on implementation and how it will be imposed 

By Skandha Gunasekara

Both the Joint Opposition and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna yesterday dismissed President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to implement the death penalty as mere political rhetoric made without any foresight.

Joint Opposition Parliamentary group leader MP Dinesh Gunawardana told the Daily FT that it was another ad hoc statement made by the Government. 

“This claim that the death penalty will be brought in as a measure to curb the rising drug menace is nothing but an ad hoc statement similar to many such statements made by this Government. The death penalty has been a part of the legal system for over four decades.”

He went on to note that the narcotics issue had become uncontrollable in the country and questioned as to what measures the Government was adopting to address the matter.

“The flow of drugs into this country has been increasing in the past two years. We want to know what the Government is planning to do to curb this pressing problem. We want the Government to have a proactive plan to combat the spread of illegal drugs; making statements is not enough,” MP Gunawardana said. 

Meanwhile, JVP MP Sunil Handunetti, addressing a media briefing yesterday, said that it was unclear what President Sirisena’s motive was with regards to the reintroduction of the death penalty.

“The President has proposed to implement the death penalty for drug peddlers but he stops short at that. His proposal is incomplete. We don’t know what other measures the Government will take to address this serious problem.”

Responding to a question raised by a journalist on whether the death penalty would only be imposed for drug related offenses, MP Handunetti said that it was unclear how the death penalty would be implemented. 

“The President has made only half a proposal. He has not said how the death penalty will be implemented or how it will be imposed. It is such a haphazard decision. We do not know how to make sense of this. It looks as if the President decided to introduce the death penalty as a response to the fuel crisis,” MP Handunetti said. 

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