Report says 106 on death row

A report by Amnesty International released today said that 106 people were sentenced to death in Sri Lanka last year but yet Sri Lanka continued to be among the execution-free countries..

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

The human rights organization says the death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Official information received by Amnesty International indicated that one-hundred and six new death sentences were imposed in Sri Lanka in 2011 and 362 people were on death row at the end of the year. In late December 2011 the National Human Rights Commission announced that it intended to propose that the government abolish the death penalty.

However, the Secretary to the Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation A. Dissanayake was reported as saying that the prison authorities had already requested the approval of the Management Service Department of the Treasury to recruit a hangman and that they had received a number of applications for the post.

According to Dissanayake, in late December there were nearly 750 inmates on death row, Amnesty International said.

The US was once again the only executioner in the Americas. A total of 43 executions were recorded in 13 of the 34 states that retain the death penalty, a drop by a third since 2001, and 78 new death sentences were recorded in 2011, a decrease by half since 2001.  (Colombo Gazette)