- Sri Lanka must have an extradition treaty or agreement with the country where the suspect is located, say police sources
- Authorities in these countries are reluctant to extradite them because the death sentence is still in books
- Extradition requests are typically subject to diplomatic negotiations between the countries involved
By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya
The existence of capital punishment in statutory books, though not implemented, remains a hindrance when seeking the extradition of Sri Lankan organized criminals hiding in European countries, a top government source said. The sources said that bringing suspects from overseas to Sri Lanka can indeed pose legal and logistical challenges due to several reasons, including international legal principles and extradition laws.
Meanwhile, Police sources said that Sri Lanka must have an extradition treaty or agreement with the country where the suspect is located. Without such an agreement, it may be difficult or impossible to extradite the suspect.
Many European countries have abolished the death penalty and consider it a violation of human rights. “As a result, they are often hesitant to extradite individuals to countries that have capital punishment due to concerns about the possibility of the suspect facing the death penalty,” the sources said.
Sri Lanka currently sees an increase in the number of organized criminal activities such as shootings. According to the police, many crimes such as murders and drug trafficking are being carried out by individuals who are residing in foreign countries.
With the assistance of Interpol, Sri Lanka has made efforts to seek the arrest and repatriation of some criminals who fled to countries in Europe. However, the authorities in these countries are reluctant to extradite them because the death sentence is still in books.
In response to the concerning rise in shootings and underworld activities carried out by gangsters operating from overseas, earlier, Western Province Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon said that efforts will be made to tackle underworld figures operating from overseas. He said the police, in conjunction with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), will launch a coordinated effort to address this issue.
However, extradition treaties and agreements often include provisions regarding the death penalty.
“Some treaties explicitly prohibit extradition if the requested country intends to impose the death penalty, while others require assurances from the requesting country that the death penalty will not be sought or imposed,” the sources said.
The sources further said that extradition requests are typically subject to diplomatic negotiations between the countries involved. European countries may seek assurances or commitments from Sri Lanka that the death penalty will not be applied in the case of the extradited individual.
The decision on whether to extradite a suspect is often made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, the legal framework in both countries, and human rights considerations, the sources said.