Amnesty protests Sri Lanka death penalty
[TamilNet, Friday, 16 April 1999, 09:08 GMT]
Amnesty International, the human rights organisation wrote to the Sri Lanka President, Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday, appealing against the government's "regrettable decision" to reintroduce the death penalty.
In an open letter to President Kumaratunga, Amnesty International's Secretary General Pierre Sané expressed "deep concern" that Sri Lanka "may be moving towards resuming executions, after 23 years of being a de facto abolitionist country."
He said that the appeal was written on behalf of Amnesty's one million members world-wide, including those throughout Asia.
Amnesty International is urging that the policy change announced on 13 March, as part of a larger review of the President's prerogative of granting remissions of sentences imposed by the courts, be reconsidered
Sané said Amnesty was making his letter public, "to express international support for the many Sri Lankan voices in media, human rights, legal and other groups who are dismayed at the prospect of a resumption of executions."
"There is no proof that the death penalty has any special power to deter people from resorting to violent crimes" said Amnesty, adding "A number of studies have failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty has any unique capacity to deter others from committing particular crimes."
"To our knowledge, no public opinion polls have recently been conducted on this issue in Sri Lanka," said Amnesty, adding, "We have, however, noted several letters to editors of various newspapers calling for the resumption of executions."
Amnesty called for "an in-depth study" into criminality in Sri Lanka and for anti-crime measures "which are genuine and not merely a palliative for public cries for law and order."