Sri Lanka president vows to go ahead with 'Duterte Style" executions (VIDEO)

By Athula Vithanage

Annihilating drug pedlars and abusers have been handed over to the armed forces, said Sri Lanka’s president.

President Maithripala Sirisena made this shocking statement at a state sponsored drug abuse prevention programme in the southern town of Matara.

“I will implement the death penalty, soon,” he said amidst applause by the police chief and senior military officials among a large gathering of school children.

That will be executed by the Tri forces, Police and Civil Defence Force “to win it on a war footing, similar to the war to defeat Tamil Tigers” in 2009.

“I will, I have already assigned the task of destroying drug dealers in the same manner they destroyed LTTE terrorists.”

'Finishing off'

International bodies including the UN has repeatedly urged Sri Lanka to investigate its armed forces role in the war that claimed at least 70,000 civilian lives. 

Since his return from the Philippines a few weeks ago, President Sirisena has been pledging to follow on the footsteps of his counterpart in combating illegal drugs.

President Sirisena who has seen a steep drop in his popularity, hinted that the Philippines head of state gained better recognition since his bloody “war on drugs”.

“The president of Philippines managed to win the election only by something over 39%.” His first job  was to “finish off ” everybody who had anything to do with drugs, said President Sirisena.

Rodrigo Duterte has given police unprecedented powers to carry out drug-related raids and arrests, which has officially killed more than 5,000 people since 2016.

However, rights activists fear the real death toll could be up to 20,000.

Death penalty

The international criminal court (ICC) is carrying out a preliminary investigation into whether the extrajudicial killings constitute crimes against humanity.

Philippines human rights group iDefend said that if Sirisena was serious about following Duterte's lead, he should be ready to face scrutiny by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

Human rights groups denouncing the death penalty drew heavy flak from President Sirisena.

He slammed them as Non-Governmental Organisations paid by drug traffickers.

Mangala Samaraweera a government minister known for his vocal opposition to the death penalty was seen warmly interacting with the president.

Sri Lanka voted in favour of a resolution on the “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty” during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) plenary sessions.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.