Oct 12, Colombo: Presidential candidate of New Democratic Front led by the United National Party Minister Sajith Premadasa says he is not against the death penalty for drug kingpins, who continue to conduct their businesses even from prison cells.
Speaking during an event in Colombo, the Presidential candidate said the proliferation of drug usage is one of the main challenges the society face and prison sentences do not make the drug traffickers to stop their trade.
"What I have observed is when the major culprits are brought to book and given prison sentences, what happens is that the businesses conducted outdoors keep on flourishing indoors inside the four walls of the prisons. So What I am trying to elaborate is the drug trade and the drug business does not stop, it keeps getting multiplied."
He stressed that women and children in the society have to be given protection and if the present system of justice is incapable of preventing the drug lords from conducting their businesses, there has to be a change in the administration of justice.
"In other words, I would not hesitate to activate the death penalty against major drug business persons," Minister Premadasa stressed adding that it should be the last course of action..
"Having said that, I for one do not believe in taking life. I think the lives are sacred and we have to protect lives, so when I say that as a last resort, if all other avenues and measures are exhausted in trying to address this problem and do not achieve its particular task, I wouldn't have any hesitation in giving death penalty."
However, the Minister said it has to be ensured that the judicial processes that are in place for administration of justice have to be transparent, fair, and free from any interference.
Premadasa pointed out that because of personal enmities or other manipulations an innocent person can be sent to the gallows if the judicial system is not fair or transparent.
"Procedure through which you administer justice has to be transparent, fair and free from interferences. Under those conditions, I have to say I agree with the death penalty as the last course of action."
"We have to eradicate the drug menace, in order to protect the children, especially, the school-going children and the mothers in our society. We shall take the maximum possible steps in order to eradicate this humongous problem that our society faces," the presidential candidate pledged.