Sri Lanka reaffirms death penalty after killing of high court judge D. Wes Rist at 4:10 PM ET
[JURIST] Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga announced Saturday that the government would create a special security force to protect the nation's judges and judicial personnel and would reinstate capital punishment. The announcement came at the end of an emergency session of ministers following Friday's assassination of High Court judge Sarath Ambepitiya and his bodyguard, reported here in JURIST's Paper Chase. Kumaratunga also reaffirmed the country's commitment to the death penalty in cases of murder, rape, and drug trafficking. Sri Lanka hasn't executed anyone in 28 years, but in January 2001, the legislation that automatically commuted a death penalty to life imprisonment was revoked. No individual sentenced to death since then has exhausted all possible appeals yet. Kumaratunga indicated that capital punishment would be more strictly enforced in light of the chronic attacks on political personalities and Friday's assassination, which marked the first attack on a member of the Sri Lankan judiciary, and said that all necessary amendments to the criminal code of Sri Lanka would be submitted to the Parliament. Tamil Net has more.
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