Sri Lanka: 770 kg of cocaine publicly destroyed
Colombo, Apr 1: Sri Lankan authorities on Monday destroyed nearly 770 kgs of cocaine, a day after President Maithripala Sirisena said he has decided a time period for the execution of the capital punishment of convicted drug traffickers.
The drugs were burnt in Sri Lanka's Puttalam town on the instructions of the President, who also witnessed the destruction of the psychotropic substance. Speaking at a mass protest against drugs organised by religious leaders led by Colombo Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith here on Sunday, Sirisena said that he has taken a number of steps to strengthen laws relevant to curbing illicit drug trade.
"Whatever the challenges or obstacles his battle to eradicate the narcotics problem will continue until it achieves a successful conclusion," he was quoted as saying by the Colombo Page website.
However, Sirisena did not reveal any further details on the time period for the implementation of the capital punishment. In February, Sirisena said that he will implement death penalty for drug dealers within three months, ending a 42-year moratorium on capital punishment in the country.
Sirisena said that execution of drug convicts is a necessity in view of the fast spreading drug menace in the island nation. He took the decision despite Sri Lanka becoming party to a UN moratorium on death penalty in 2016. The Justice Ministry earlier this year announced that there were 48 death row drug convicts, 30 of them had applied against the sentence. Sirisena launched a campaign last year against drugs after he visited the Philippines and praised the country's anti-drugs drive.
On January 15 last year, Sri Lanka publicly destroyed over 928 kilograms of cocaine seized in December, 2016 aboard a container ship sailing from Ecuador to Munrah Harbor in India when it arrived at Colombo harbour, the paper reported. Further steps have been taken to increase narcotics raids on the instructions of the president to accelerate the programme implemented to eradicate illegal drugs from the country, the report said.