The Amnesty International (AI) Organization on Thursday said that 13 prisoners are at risk of imminent execution in Sri Lanka.
In a statement, it said after 43 years without using the death penalty, President Maithripala Sirisena is reportedly planning to execute prisoners on death row.
“There is completely secrecy around the dates and then identities of the prisoners who are expected to be imminently executed. No information about their case histories has been shared. It is unknown whether the individuals had fair trials, access to lawyers or whether they were able to engage in a meaningful clemency process. The last execution in Sri Lanka was in 1976. The year 2019 cannot be the year that we see this progress reversed,” it said.
It also said by seeking executions for drug related crimes, the death penalty in Sri Lanka is being used in circumstances that violate international law and standards.
“Executions have failed to act as a unique deterrent to crime in other countries. Executions could claim the lives of people who may have been convicted through unfair trials, and could disproportionately affect people from minority and less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds,” the AI said.
The Amnesty International also said that judicial proceedings in Sri Lanka may have not met international standards for a fair trial and resulted in the imposition of the death penalty.
“The National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka noted on the basis of the complaints it received that torture is routinely used in all parts of the country regardless of the nature of the suspected offence for which the person is arrested. For instance, those arrested on suspicion of robbery, possession of drugs, assault, treasure hunting, dispute with family/spouse, have been subjected to torture,” it said.