17 November, 2018

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Sri Lanka Must Not Reintroduce The Death Penalty

By Pitasanna Shanmugathas 

Pitasanna Shanmugathas

On June 15th 1999, Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam gave a speech in Parliament condemning the proposal by the Kumaratunga government to reintroduce the death penalty. 

In light of the recent announcement on the part of the Maithripala Sirisena government to reintroduce the death penalty, “with plans to execute 19 death row prisoners convicted of drug-related offences,” Neelan’s words, in condemnation of the death penalty, seem more relevant now than ever before. 

“The last hanging in this country took place in 1976. Although the death penalty remains part of our statute book and death sentences are passed, they are automatically commuted. In view of the disturbing incidence of gruesome crime and the increase in crime, it has been proposed that the death sentence should apply in a limited number of circumstances.  I refer to the statement that has been issued by the Presidential Secretariat with regard to this matter. It states that the death penalty will now be carried out in accordance with a procedure where it will seek the recommendations of the trial judge, the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice as to whether such a sentence should be executed. I would like to express my strong moral opposition to this measure.  

Neelan Tiruchelvam and Sithie Tiruchelvam

Firstly, in a society where the sanctity of life continues to be debased, it is morally wrong to enforce the death penalty even in these limited circumstances. 

Secondly, the UN Commission on Human Rights recently passed a resolution asking all countries that have the death penalty in their statute books to refrain from implementing it and to suspend operations with regard to the death penalty. So after the last hanging in 1976, Sri Lanka now goes back in history, and against the trend of international public opinion, to revive the death penalty. It would, in my respectful view, be a retrograde step.

Thirdly, there is no credible evidence that the death penalty ever served as an effective deterrent against crime. There has been a large body of scientific studies on this and, up to date, there has been no credible evidence on this point. 

Fourthly, even in the United Kingdom, there have been instances where the death penalty was imposed on persons who were subsequently found innocent of the crimes. Given the imperfections of our system, it would be a terrible mistake to implement so severely a penalty in these circumstances. 

So, for these reasons, I would record our opposition to this measure and urge that the Government and the Opposition have an opportunity to debate fully this important proposal with regard to the administration of justice.”  

In addition to Dr. Tiruchelvam’s compelling points in opposition to the death penalty, it is worth noting that the re-introduction and enforcement of the death penalty by the Sirisena government creates a dangerous precedent which successive administrations, like the rightwing nationalist political party the Sri Lanka Podujana Peraumna (SLPP), if they come into power in the 2020 elections, may seek to further expand. It is also worth noting that Sirisena’s intended use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is a direct violation of international law which, as pointed out by Amnesty International, “says the death penalty can only be imposed in countries that are yet to abolish it for the most serious crimes, meaning intentional killing– and would brazenly defy Sri Lanka’s international commitments, including its repeated votes in favour of a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty at the UN General Assembly, including most recently in 2016.” 

The Sirisena government must be cognizant of the repercussions that the enforcement and reintroduction of the death penalty will have on the people of Sri Lanka for decades to come. 

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Latest comments

  • 0
    5

    Cheap Pitasanna played a game of brining Neelan here so he can pass the crime on long gone LTTE. But CV explained to Jeyam that police is keeping relationship with criminals. He accepted it. If Pitasanna has not idea of what is going in the country, why is he getting into these problems?

    Capital Punishment may fix the crime or not. Legalizing narcotics may bring the SinhaLE Wildlife Sanctuary Lankawe as new heaven of Buddha land, beyond the Miracle of Asia or not, but unless Pitasanna is ready to clean his acts and say that Lankawe has an obligation to full fill War Crime Investigation, Pitasanna’ s government to show all the criminals as War Heroes.

    “Thirudanai Paarthu Thirunthaviddal Thirudai Olikka Vazhli Illai”. If Pitasanna is ready to write “From Batalanda to Mullivaaikkaal, all war criminals has to stand for Trial” then nobody has to legalize the Narcotics to eliminate the capital punishment.

    • 3
      1

      All you guys ……….. hold your horses.

      I have come to the conclusion ………. that the biggest problem Buddhist-version practiced in Lanka has encountered is …………… how do people reconcile Buddha’s teachings with the day to day real-life.

      I am in the process of writing a book ………… how to utilize Buddhism in your daily lives ……

      It has chapters with illustrated examples ……….. on Prctical …….. Murder, Serial-killing, Looting, Scams, robbery, thuggery, plunder, deception, lies ………….. all practical stuff that you can really carry out (no airy-fairy pie in the sky theoretical claptrap quoting this guy or the other) ………… if I’ve failed to add your favourite topic please feel free to request.


      Would have got it done sooner ………… if my B&B was not so busy …….. while at the same time trying to give MOSAD the slip! ………. and busy trying to divide the damn country. :))

      It’s not an easy time for conventional old-fashioned morals/ethics …………. wish Mahinda or Donald was my teacher! ………… I would be sitting on the top of the Buddhist pyramid/pile

      ………. then I’ll take on the Pope …………

    • 1
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      Pitasanna Shanmugathas,

      RE: Sri Lanka Must Not Reintroduce The Death Penalty

      But the criminals, killers and murderers have ALREADY introduced the death penalty on their victims, innocent or not.

      Was the killing committed in the line of defense or offense? The courts, based on true evidence, must sort this out.

      Then the true criminals should be given life imprisonment with hard labor, and options for committing suicide, so that they can depart early, in case the state does not wish to depart them early.

    • 1
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      It is an open secret crimes in the north are committed by Sinhala security forces through their agents who are either EPDP cadres or some rehabilitated LTTE cadres, and Sinhala police are either turning a blind eye or a part of the crime. Even when people catch culprits and hand over them to police either these culprits are released or no action taken against them. Narcotics are smuggled by navy and peddled by army. It is the government strategy to introduce drugs to Tamil youths and destroy them socially. Also these sword wielding gang are similar to tactics adopted by Sudan in south Sudan and Indonesia in Iryan Jaya, to make Tamils to live in fear, which will divert their attention from demanding rights. All these discoveries of LTTE uniforms and ammunition are a ploy to keep armed forces in Tamil areas, when there is pressure internationally to demilitarise.

  • 2
    2

    “Shrikharan” “We do not need death penalty the white vans can do the needful” Then give your vote to GR at the next Presidential election. You will also be “Blessed” by the Anu Nayake – the Most Rev. of Asgiriya. Chapter.

  • 3
    0

    Civilized nations view murder with repugnance. Death penalty is murder. Cases of ‘mistaken identity’ executions emerge off and on – some several decades later. The mistaken victims are always those who cannot afford the expensive defence.
    .
    MS seems to be enamoured by the ‘success’ of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in fighting the drug menace. Duterte has NOT succeeded and never ever will.
    We have something to learn here. The infamous Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos were very very corrupt. They allowed the Police to make ’pocket money’ which led to rackets involving protection of drug dealers. Duterte will succeed if and when he cleans up the entrenched police corruption.
    Is it an accident we have a similar situation in Lanka?
    Drugs cannot get into (or out of) a country without high connections. Duterte has not come up with execution of such high-ups.
    .
    MS wants to execute dealers. These will be at the lower end. The Police will come up with confessions which may include innocents. Remember at one stage the Police had THREE confessions in the rare and murder of four year old Seya Sadewmi.
    .
    Pitasanna Shanmugathas: Do not worry. MS is not that daft. He and Rajitha are trying to take the heat off Bellana-gate!

  • 3
    0

    First level of civilization: No death penalty at all. Even for murder, even for 100 murders. Most European Union countries ( a primary condition to be admitted to the Union)
    x
    Second level of civilization : Death penalty only for murder. USA, India and majority of countries.
    x
    Thirld level of civilization : Death penalty for offenses like drugs and corruption. China, Singapore, SRI LANKA (Whether you practise it or not is another discussion )
    x
    Forth level of civilization : Death penalty for adultery, apostasy, blasphemy. All Muslim countries.
    x
    Soma

    • 2
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      somass

      “Forth level of civilization : Death penalty for adultery, apostasy, blasphemy. All Muslim countries.”

      What are the chances of catching you under your forth level of civilization?

  • 2
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    “creates a dangerous precedent which successive administrations, like the rightwing nationalist political party the Sri Lanka Podujana Peraumna (SLPP), if they come into power in the 2020 elections, may seek to further expand.” Yes for people like this hate pusher, abominable propagandist lier and Tiger promoter.
    Soma

  • 2
    0

    Nobody has a right to take another person’ life. If these things are happening in the Prison (one of the most corrupted places in Srilanka) they should deploy the STF / Police unannounced on a particular day, put all the Prisoners out of the Cells, do a thorough search and confiscate all unwanted material. This should include the Jailers and the rest.No body should be allowed to take cellulars inside thereafter. But it can’t be Murderous Gota style operation where they killed some prisoners whom they wanted to get rid of.Bastards still enjoying their life (may be suffering without our knowledge).

  • 0
    0

    There is nothing to reintroduce. During MR’s regime journalist’s who opposed were executed, Suspects arrested were executed in the guise of looking for hidden arms, its happening even now . Police have not got the brains to hand cuff the criminals when they take them to look for hidden arms.Sportsman who stood on their were executed.The only difference is they were tried in family courts.

  • 3
    3

    Death penalty is not suitable for Srilanka because there is no independent judiciary in Srilanka.Srilanka never will have a independent judiciary because 75% of the population remains under the influence of fundamentalism

  • 1
    0

    Today’s “The Island” (14 July) has this ~ “………….Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samarawweera yesterday alleged the major heroin dealers were key members of the civil society…………”.
    This is an open secret.
    They are well protected by the armour corruption/nepotism/impunity.

  • 1
    0

    Mind you, Sri Lanka is an island and if the narcotics are locally produced, they come to come through eith by sea or air. So without the tacit support of the authorities including the armed forces, it is totally impossible bring in any drug. When the problem lie on the state, they want to show the masses that they strict of drugs. They are not going to achieve by introducing capital punishment.

    In the north, people are willing to help the authorities to nap the people who traffic Kerala Ganja, but the police doesn’t head their plea.

    • 1
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      Shivalingam

      “In the north, people are willing to help the authorities to nap the people who traffic Kerala Ganja, but the police doesn’t head their plea.”

      Because the police knows well the men who control narcotic supply are well connected to powers in Colombo whatever that maybe. In case if these few honest hapless policemen insist they are jeopardizing their jobs, will be subjected to harassment, promotions, possible punishment transfers, ………………………..

  • 1
    0

    Paradise is awash with release of sensations ! The whole of YAHAPALANAYA is
    full of antics and the talk of gallows for drug mafia already sentenced , could be
    another attention grabber ! Yahapalana slogan is a flop and trying to take it
    further with more and more antics would be suicidal ! The stinking politicians
    from all sides must stop playing with vulnerable masses with their antics that
    later made into arson ! Back to the topic , honestly to reintroduce gallows , the
    system of justice need to be CORRUPT FREE first of all ! DO IT , DON’T SAY !
    It is each and every establishment in the country that is corrupt and how can
    such a country’s only one establishment becomes holy ? As Mangala correctly
    put it , START A MASSIVE INVESTIGATION ON THE PRISON OFFICIALS who
    are definitely part of this drug mafia . How is the prison made into a heaven
    for some and hell for others ? It is the same outside the prison , heaven for a
    very few and hell for the rest ! Even in Saudi it is not the beheading that reduce
    crimes BUT THE MONEY FLOW , majority has power to live so no crime , the
    day that power fades , you can see the results . You can not bring about the
    change you promised , so the gallows ? YAHAPALANAYA either a big LIE or a
    gross STUPIDITY !

  • 0
    0

    Countries where the narcotics were a problem ysed death penulty to get rid of that. Singapore, Malaysia I suppose, Arabic countries are examples. Sri lanka has mental weirods who are the result of wars or youth uinrest. See how mANY RAPE CASES WERE IN THE NORTH. North even killed an innocent LEAPORD because they thought that it is you which caused this much mayhem. PResioodent should do it,. and it is not personal against the drug dealers who involved in killings. Killings are noraml where the drugs are problems. they kill each other for territory. Sri lankan drug problem is foreign spy agenceis connected and associated. There is a rumour that those money is used to implement certain projects in sri lanka which ruins eventually the country. News media is scared and probably because of money do not publish these stories. but, available in foreign media.

  • 1
    1

    This Death Penulty discussion is BULL$hit. There are very democratic countris which has elelctric chair and death by poison injection. WArs kill very poor people who look up for the flying High speed jets. GROW UP journalsits. Come to the real world. You think for the sake of the society there should not be harsh punishments for hardned people or those who use it.

  • 0
    0

    The “Daily Mirror” 13 July says “Duterte lauds Sirisena’s recognition of Philippines war on drugs”.
    MS wants to ape him but no point aping an ape!
    Has Duterte tackled the king-pins? Duterte lives off the earnings of Philippine-maid remittances. His police is notoriously corrupt. He will never ever succeed without addressing the endemic corruption. He cannot because the corrupt structure left behind by the Marcos regime is strong as an ape.
    .
    MS must consider the Mangala’s unpalatable allegation that the major Lankan heroin dealers are
    key members of the civil society.

  • 2
    1

    All the Decisions that The unity government make ,from Racial Harmony ,throwing into jail with an iron fist all smugglers and those who abuse the nation’s resources , crushing the underworld ,thugs ,those who bully minorities by punishing with the harshest and putting to death anyone who is guilty of premeditated murder ,Drugs, murder based on racial and bigotry hate .

    I think its best to put them to sleep using the USA injection system.

    The President and PM must understand that they need to use an iron fist to establish law and order, no other way is possible.

    Whenever life threats are made on any individual serious action should be taken, starting with investigations of the victim as well as the bullies who have made the threats ,starting from their personal life to all business transactions ,travel to foreign lands , the friends circles, to determine the reasons connected to the threat ,all verbal threats must be treated as criminal ,proposed pre-murder plan, in case if any harm happens to the victim ,The People connected should all be treated as partners in crime.

    Death penalty is a must ,it has to be instituted ,if this government can’t endorse it ,then it has failed.
    Meanwhile Activists like me and others and freelance investigation journalists,who rusk our lives must be either protected or Armed

    • 2
      0

      The problem is with Sirisena and Ranil themselves. When they are gone, the country would do better.
      People deserve happiness and serenity in their lives. Yahapalanaya brought too many problems for people.
      What we see everywhere is frustration, disappointment, impatience, anxiety, irritation, anger, disunity, misery, agitation and antagonism.
      Men and women kill each other, husbands kill wives, wives kill husbands, parents kill children, children kill parents and they both kill or destroy other people’s children too. What is worse is these killers have no remorse. It is sickening to see them trying to justify the murder they committed. Can anybody explain this? I don’t think anywhere in the world history there is a time like this.
      In the backdrop of this, the President made some reputed Buddhist priests support his desire to reinstate death penalty, which is shocking. Those Buddhist priests who support death penalty can no longer say the first moral precept of Buddhism which is abstaining from harming living beings.
      Where are the Sinhalese who cried uncontrollably on January 9, 2015 when Mahinda was ousted? There was no Sinhalese who didn’t have tears in their eyes when they watch him leaving Temple Trees, even his opponents. Sinhalese are a very sensitive nation. Where are those people today? How could people be hardhearted like this within 3 1/2 years?
      The society has nowhere to turn. Children have no one to look upto. The leader(s) of the country should be someone people can look upto. He should be a good example to his citizens. He should be an inspiration to younger generation. In a Buddhist country like Sri Lanka, the leaders should have compassionate hearts which radiates out to others. Do we see that in Sirisena and Ranil? Not at all. What we see is resentment, grudge, malevolence and hostility.

      • 0
        2

        What we see everywhere is frustration, disappointment, impatience, anxiety, irritation, anger, disunity, misery, agitation and antagonism.
        Men and women kill each other, husbands kill wives, wives kill husbands, parents kill children, children kill parents and they both kill or destroy other people’s children too. What is worse is these killers have no remorse. It is sickening to see them trying to justify the murder they committed. Can anybody explain this?

        Champa
        Your team, even before then come to power, brothers are killing brothers. Nephews were drawing guns on uncles. Wimal hates entire Lankawe and wants to bomb everybody with parliament.

        It is really sickening to read your pretentious, hypocrisy writings.

        • 1
          0

          Mallaiyuran
          What you say is not true. People didn’t kill each other like this prior to 2015. Crimes by known criminals could be seen but again not at this rate.
          But common people who have no history of criminal activities didn’t resort to murder like this.
          Wimal never said he “wants to bomb everybody with Parliament.” Those are your words not his. What he said was “a bomb will fall on the Parliament from the top, if the Federal Constitution is passed with majority.”

          • 0
            0

            Propensity to Crime and Evil seem to be inherent in human beings perhaps arising from the free will. Fear is a deterrent to crime but not with all persons and not in all circumstances. Mitigation of the penalty not its complete abolition, may be necessary in certain circumstances and this happens in most civilized societies which practice the death penalty . We cant be goody goody but socially responsible
            RMB Senanayake Retd CCS

      • 1
        0

        Champa ,

        Just for one day , let’s get down a bit deeper into real problems !

        1. Power from kingship to democracy without qualification
        creating handicap leaders . .
        2. Greed beyond limits and branching out from money to
        many other areas , like foreign tours ,land grabs, cars and
        fame at any cost .
        3.Wrong education that is spreading like wild fire producing
        bookish intelligence .
        4. Jealousy at its best in every level .
        5. Religions that are doing everything except religion.
        6. Raising children for migration .
        7. Living for everything except for the country.
        8. Vast majority accepting bricks and mortar project are the only
        or the most desired development projects which opens all
        avenues for full scale corruptions .
        9. Poor Silva being able to say today with full certainty that all
        ministries and institutions under them are corrupt .
        10.Who elects representatives to these bodies ?

  • 0
    1

    Pitasanna is not sincere in discussing the capital punishment. He just wants to put the blame on LTTE. He wants to tell LTTE killed Neelan, so as the revenge it is ok to kill Tamils as the people who smuggle Kerala Kanja. Just want to sanctify the Rapist Army. That is all.

    • 1
      0

      Its good to see that these young northern Sri Lankans express their ideas without being bias to any coalition (Mainly without being pro LTTE) .We are enough of racism , we lost so many lives regardless of Sinhalese and Tamils. So why do not we encourage these young generation to lead the society for a better future in which race or cast is irrelevant?

  • 1
    0

    What is going on is nothing to do with the government , its clear ,its because there is so mulch freedom and true democracy these are coming out ,or we will never know it. simple logic.The government needs to now start taking tough actions

    Read the story in Social medias about how a Nephew drugged his lonely Uncle a wealthy businessman who’s family was living overseas by arranging two domestic. hands , the Uncle was a diabetes patient ,he planned it in such a away he waitted till the regular doctor went on vacation , got his quack doctor friend to mess the medications up ,let his BP sky rocket and did not admit him. to the hospital until he fainted fell and hit his head on the floor and go into a coma ,by the time he was taken into the ICU all his organs had failed ,the Nephew has transfered all the wealth illegally into his name and now the case is on ,now a murder case is to be filed against him and most probably the body of the uncle is to be exhumed .
    He is paying people money with his “ill gotten “uncle’s money to attack and planning to harm ‘could be even murder all those who are against his criminal act.

    Is this Yahapalana’s fault ? He is also trying hard to get help from.a relive connected to a powerful minister to bail. him. out .

  • 2
    2

    Champa

    You can pity any number of people in this forum, whatever you do you remain a liar, bigoted racist, war crime denier, a person who belongs to the utterly odious brand of Sinhala/Buddhist fascists.

    What have you got to do with Buddhism as the awakened one taught?
    You have your own brand of religion/cult, a parochial political fascist ideology, South Indian converts, ……………..

    “We Sinhalese Buddhists brought light to the tunnel.”

    Oh really!!!!
    On the contrary you the Sinhala/Buddhists brought darkness into the island put grief into the people, continue to keep the people in fear, paranoid and pain.

    It is diametrically opposed to what the awakened one taught.

  • 0
    0

    Thank you Shanmugadas for this eye opening sort of article. But just do not worry . “death penalty implementation ” by Mr.Sirisena, just like his plenty of promises and pledges is never going to happen
    here in Sri Lanka.

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