Lanka rights body recommends abolition of capital punishment

Sri Lanka`s top rights body has recommended the government to abolish capital punishment.

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s top rights body has recommended the government to abolish capital punishment.

In a report handed over to the government yesterday, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has recommended the review of death penalty and proposed that death sentences given to convicts be commuted to life imprisonment.

Prathiba Mahanamahewa, HRCSL Commissioner said the recommendation would be officially conveyed to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in order to amend the law.

Currently, there are 529 death row prisoners, most of them between 30 to 50 years of age. Atleast 451 of them have appealed against the sentence, he said.

They have repeatedly told the commission to either hang them or commute their death sentence to life imprisonment.

The HRCSL has decided to make this recommendation considering the mental and physical trauma caused to them, Mahanamahewa said.

In December 2012, Sri Lanka had abstained from voting at the UN General Assembly that called for a global moratorium on capital punishment.

Although the death penalty is on the law books, no hangings have been carried out since June 1976.

Since late 1990s, due to a rise in violent crimes, there has been a greater demand for capital punishment however, the report said that capital punishment had not deterred or decreased the rate of crime.

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