SRI LANKA: SUPREME COURT EXTENDS STAY ON DEATH PENALTY
|President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena
November 5, 2019:
Sri Lanka' s Supreme Court on 29 October 2019 effectively blocked a plan by the president to bring back hangings for the first time since 1976 before he leaves office next month. (Sources: AFP, 29/10/2019)
Maithripala Sirisena said in June that he had signed death warrants for four drug offenders -- mirroring the Philippines' no-holds-barred anti-narcotics drive -- alarming rights groups and the international community.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court extended on 29 October a stay order until the hearing of 15 petitions filed against Sirisena's bid.
"The bench extended the stay order till December 9," a lawyer representing civil society groups, who call hanging a "cruel and degrading", said after a brief hearing.
Sirisena is not seeking re-election and must leave office as soon as a winner is declared after the 16 November election, more than three weeks before the court resumes hearings.
There has been a moratorium on capital punishment in the Indian Ocean island nation since 1976.