Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that President Maithripala Sirisena is drawing up secret plans to execute the first Sri Lankan death row prisoner in nearly half a century in the name of boosting his image as a tough guy as he refuses to give up the dream of a second term in the presidency. Colombo Telegraph learns that he has issued instructions to carry out the first hanging in secret, with the Attorney General’s Department and Prisons Department involved in preparations for the execution.
It is said the first execution by hanging could happen as early as next week, as President Sirisena wishes to implement it to coincide with the Drug Eradication Week announced by the Presidential Task Force a shortly to be observed between 23 June and July 1.
Colombo Telegraph learns that a Deputy Solicitor General is handling the work relating to the legal formalities and international matters that could arise from the hanging. Two executioners who were recently hired by the Prisons Department are busy with “practice sessions” according to Government sources. An inexperienced executioner could perform a botched execution – if necessary weight is not applied, the prisoner’s neck may not snap clean, leading to a slow and excruciatingly painful death for the inmate.
Two Government Ministers have confirmed the President is planning the executions.
Sirisena has expressly told the officers involved that he wishes to carry out the first hanging in secret to minimize international pressure that might arise if news gets out about his plans. Presidential advisors claim Sirisena is determined to hang one prisoner at least before leaving office.
Sirisena has faced major local and international backlash in the past few months, since expressing interest in meting out capital punishment on those found guilty of drug related offenses.
During his visit to Kenya, Amensty International carried out a campaign against his dalliance with death penalty, carrying front page ads calling him out in all national newspapers.