Rights groups in Nepal protest Lanka prez's decision to execute 4 drug convicts

Human rights and civil society organisations in Nepal on Tuesday protested the Sri Lankan government's decision to end a moratorium on capital punishment and execute four convicted drug dealers.

Ending a 43-year old moratorium on death penalty, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last week signed the death warrants for four drug convicts who will be hanged soon, amid rising drug-related crimes in the country. The island nation last executed a prisoner in 1976.

Currently, 1,299 prisoners, including 48 convicted of narcotics-related offences, are on death row in the country.

Terming Sirisena's decision as a "shame for the modern society", members of Nepal's rights groups -- including Amnesty International (Nepal), Advocacy Forum, Accountability Watch Group, Jury Nepal and Common Platform of Conflict Victims -- staged protest in front of the Sri Lankan Embassy at Maharajgunj here.

Amnesty International Nepal director Nirajan Thapa said, "Adopting a heinous and inhumane punishment like the death penalty even in the 21st century is a matter of shame for the modern society."

There should be no provision for death penalty whatever be the nature of the crime and the circumstances, he said.

An Amnesty International Nepal delegation also met Lankan Ambassador Sworna Parera to draw the attention of the Sri Lankan government on the issue.

Sirisena in Colombo on Monday said he had rejected a telephone appeal by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to reconsider his push to reintroduce the death penalty.

Sirisena's office has said the president wanted the hangings to send a powerful message to anyone engaged in the illegal drugs trade.

There were 200,000 drug addicts in the country, and 60 per cent of the 24,000-strong prison population were drug offenders, the president said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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