by Easwaran Eas July 25, 2018
Sri Lanka on Wednesday dismissed a warning by the European Union (EU) on implementing the death penalty.
Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said the Government was not concerned over the possibility of losing the EU GSP Plus trade facility as a result of a decision to implement the death penalty on serious repeat offenders of drug smuggling.
Responding to a question posed at a media briefing today, Senaratne said that President Maithripala Sirisena is firm on the decision taken on the death penalty.
Asked if the Government was not concerned over the possibility of losing the EU GSP Plus trade facility once again, Senaratne said that the Government was not concerned and that it will go ahead with its decision.
Senaratne said the Police have identified 19 convicts and only these convicts who have been found to continue to engage in dug trafficking despite being in prison, will be sent to the gallows.
“The President is firm that no matter what facility we lose the death penalty must be implemented on these convicts,” he said.
The Delegation of the European Union, the missions of the EU Member States in Sri Lanka as well as the diplomatic missions of the Governments of Canada and Norway in Sri Lanka had recently written to President Maithripala Sirisena saying that they strongly and unequivocally oppose capital punishment in all circumstances and in all cases.
There were reports Sri Lanka may lose the EU GSP Plus facility if it goes ahead with the death penalty.
No execution have taken place in Sri Lanka since 1976.
Sri Lanka lost its preferential access to the EU market in 2010 after failing to meet its human rights commitments but regained access last year after the current Government made an appeal and assured it will meet the EU expectations.