Parliament divided on implementing death penalty

Parliament was divided today when the death penalty was discussed with some for and others against its immediate implementation.Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra, who put forward a motion on the death penalty, noted that most people in the country feel the death penalty should not be implemented as it goes against Buddhist culture. She insisted that religion and law and two different subjects and should not be combined together as doing so will prevent the law from taking its course. Ramanayake proposed that the death penalty be made law at least for two years and then after that it can be reviewed.However Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha said that the death penalty cannot be implemented without carefully studying the issue at hand.He said that several rounds of discussions must be held with civil society and others before a final decision is taken. Meanwhile Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake, who backed the motion, said that the public and the Parliamentarians should not be misled by the motives of the motion calling for the death penalty.He said that the proposal to implement the death penalty is not to use it on normal criminals but those who rape and murder children. Parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa said that the death penalty must be implemented as a form of punishment on those who rape and murder children.However he said there needs to be conditions attached to the process when implementing the death penalty. (Colombo Gazette) “If the law is not properly implemented the country will never develop. All mothers and fathers and all those who have feelings must support the death penalty being implemented on those who rape and kill children,” she said. MP Sudharshini Fernandopulle said that laws in Sri Lanka need to be strengthened to prevent crime and the death penalty is also a must.However she said before the death penalty is implemented there is a need to address some shortcomings in the legal system, including establishing children’s courts and the option to give evidence on video.She also raised concerns over the police service saying its independence often comes into question. Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara also agreed and said that the issue of the death penalty is a sensitive subject so it needs to be looked into carefully.

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