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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka announced on Wednesday it would start hanging drug dealers, ending a near-half century moratorium on capital punishment as officials promised to “replicate the success” of the Philippines drug war.

President Maithripala Sirisena had told the cabinet he “was ready to sign the death warrants” of rep­eat drug offenders, government spokesman Rajitha Senara­tne said on Wednesday.

“From now on, we will hang drug offenders without commuting their death sentences,” he said.

Sri Lanka has commuted death sentences for serious crimes to life in prison since 1976, when the last execution took place.

The government has drawn inspiration from the Philippines, where a no-holds barred war on drugs has been a centrepiece of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

“We were told that the Philippines has been successful in deploying the army and dealing with this problem. We will try to replicate their success,” Senaratne said of the decision to deploy the military to tackle drugs.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018

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