Sri Lanka to resume executions of drug convicts

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka

The president of Sri Lanka has said a decades-old moratorium on the death penalty will end within months with the hanging of drug convicts.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, Maithripala Sirisena said he was committed to bringing back capital punishment for drug offenders, months after vowing a tougher line on spiralling narcotics-related crime.

He stressed: “I hope to carry out the first hanging within a month or two. I appeal to human rights organisations not to try to pressure us on this decision.”

In Sri Lanka, criminals are regularly given death sentences for murder, rape and drug-related crimes but, until now, their punishments have been commuted to life imprisonment.