Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has demanded death sentence to all the suspects arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks, amid his differences with the governing coalition over the reintroduction of capital punishment after four decades.
Sirisena said the move to bring in a motion in Parliament to abolish the capital punishment is a move to prevent the death sentence being implemented on the barbaric terrorists who killed nearly 260 people on April 21 in a series of coordinated suicide bombings on three hotels and three churches, the Daily Mirror reported.
Sirisena is fighting against efforts by his governing coalition in parliament to abolish capital punishment, which has been subject to a moratorium since 1976.
The president, speaking at an event in Pelenda Rajamaha Viharaya on Monday, said the punishment should be implemented to create a good society and added that having scared of the punishment will reduce wrongdoings in a society which will help create a good society and a country.
He said that according to the criminal law of Sri Lanka anyone charged with murder, anti-government coup and terrorist activity are subjected to the death sentence.
“Moves by some government members to abolish death sentence would prevent any such criminal being punished,” he said.
Sirisena has claimed that international drug syndicates orchestrated the Easter Sunday bombings.
The statement came amid a nationwide narcotics crackdown, with the president advocating to reintroduce capital punishment for drug offences.
Srisena last month signed the death warrants to hang four drug convicts.
It would have been the first time that convicts would have been hanged in Sri Lanka since June 1976 as it maintained a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment.
However, earlier this month the country’s Supreme Court stayed until October 30 the execution order. The apex court’s order came on a fundamental rights petition filed by one of the convicts against the presidential order.
M A Sumanthiran, a lawyer, had filed the case, claiming that Sirisena’s decision impinges on the rights of one of the drug convicts.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he and his United National Party (UNP) are opposed to capital punishment.
Sirisena’s decision has come in spite of a UN moratorium on the death penalty which Sri Lanka has been consistently supporting.
All his predecessors since 1978 had declined to sign death warrants. The death sentencing is commuted to life terms – 20 years in prison.
Sirisena also said that inquiry into the Central Bank Bond Scam was continuing and that he had already spoken to Singapore Prime Minister on the extradition of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka.
He said all those responsible for the bond scam had been identified and that they have been arrested. Warrants by Interpol have been issued with the suspects who were out of the country, he said.