Sri Lanka announced on Thursday that it is lifting a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and will start executing prisoners with drug trafficking convictions who are on death row.
The Justice and Prison Reforms Ministry has issued a timeline on the process it has adopted to implement the death penalty. In July the country’s cabinet approved a proposal to resume executions in drug-related offenses, and a list of death row inmates was sent to the Attorney General. Sri Lanka has 1,299 people in prison facing face death sentences, and 48 of them have been convicted in drug-related cases. Thirty of the prisoners facing execution have appealed their sentences while 18 have not.
The country’s President Maithripala Sirisena, who visited the Philippines in January, has hinted at being inspired by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drug traffickers. He termed Duterte’s anti-drug campaign “an example to the world.” The Sri Lankan government says narcotics are a growing problem in the country, and, in January 2018, authorities seized a cocaine stash worth USD $108 million from a single shipment in the port of Colombo.