Sri Lanka has advertised for a new hangman aged between 18 and 45. The advertisement is issued by the commissioner general of prisons of Sri Lanka. The advertisement lays stress on the applicant to be of "excellent moral character" and have" very good mind and mental strength".

Sri Lanka will be hiring two executioners after president Maithripala Sirisena told parliament that the death punishment would be reinstated within two months. This will break a 43-year moratorium on hanging which is the recognized form of execution in Lanka. The Guardian has reported that the president has been praising Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against the drugs as an example to the world and had said that the death penalty would be reinstated for drug dealers last July.

Death penalty

Last week the Lanka president told parliament that the death penalty would be reinstated within two months. This announcement has led to a flurry of activity, and the prison management has advertised for two hangmen. The last execution took place in Lanka 43 years back.

Though the punishment remains in the statute books which are a legacy of the British Raj, a moratorium had been issued, and death sentences were routinely commuted to life in prison. The Independent has reported that the last hangmen quit in 2014 without ever having executed anyone. He cited stress as a reason after seeing the gallows for the first time. Another executioner who was hired last year never joined duty.

Human rights groups

Sirisena's move to reinstate the death penalty has been criticized by many human rights groups in Sri Lanka. These groups warn the bloody scenes being played out in the Philippines which also suffers from the malice of terrorism like the recent church bombing could very well be part of the scenario in Sri Lanka.

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is on the rise, and as per the latest report, the names of 20 drug traffickers sentenced to death has been forwarded to the Lanka president. Among them are two Pakistani and one female. In the US, president Trump who recently called for the withdrawal of troops from Syria has called for stiffer execution of death sentences after the Pittsburgh synagogue killings.

Last word

Offences like murder and death by rape have attracted the death penalty, but these have not been carried out for 43 years. It is not clear whether the reinstatement of death by hanging will also apply to these crimes. Lanka has a long history of capital punishment, and in 1956 it was abolished but reinstated a year later. Subsequently, in 1976 it was suspended and was not invoked even during the worst days of the civil war with the LTTE.