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* Sri Lanka's hangman gets distressed after seeing gallows and quit
Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 09:33 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's efforts to shorten the waiting time for death row prisoners got disrupted after the hangman selected for the job got distressed on seeing the gallows for the first time and quit.

After searching for a executioner for three years, Sri Lanka's Prison Department has appointed the latest hangman last week.

He was given one week training on the job but after seeing the gallows for the first time, he got distressed and resigned from the post, the Commissioner General of Prisons Chandrarathna Pallegama, told Reuters.

The Prison Department began conducting interviews in August 2012 to select a hangman and an assistant among 178 eligible candidates who applied for the post.

The Department recruited two executioners, elected from 145 short-listed candidates, and gave them a 14-day special training last year. However, the two recruits failed to show up for work and the Department recruited the third in the list of qualified candidates last week.

The Prisons Commissioner told Reuters that next time they will show the gallows to the new recruits before giving them basic training.

Sri Lanka judiciary imposes capital punishment but the death penalty has not been implemented since 1976.

The government reinstated the death penalty in 2004 for murder, rape and drug trafficking following the murder of a high court judge.

There are over 1,200 death row inmates currently languishing in jails waiting for execution or a final decision for commutation for execution. Some prisoners on death row at the moment have served over 15 years while waiting for their sentences to be carried out.

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