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TRI-FORCES TO BE EMPOWERED TO BUST DRUGS

Police powers will be granted to the Tri-Forces by law for two years to help the Police in eradicating the drug menace in the country.

A joint Cabinet paper submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as Defence Minister and Public Administration and Law and Order Minister, Ranjith Maddumabandara has pointed out that while the Police and Police Narcotics Bureau did a commendable job in apprehending drug related crime, the worsening drug situation in the country required assistance from the Tri-Forces.

A meeting at the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention too had pointed out this need.

Minister Maddumabandara in the paper pointed out that the Navy already worked to apprehend drug traffickers on the high seas in accordance with the Customs Ordinance, Emigration and Immigration Act and the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act.

Thus this would be an extension of that.

Laws will be prepared with recommendations from the Attorney General’s Department.

Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Rajitha Senaratne addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing yesterday said Cabinet had also agreed to implement the death penalty on large scale drug traffickers in a bid to arrest the current trend. President Sirisena said had agreed to sign the death penalty on 19 large scale drug traffickers, especially those who run their operations from within prison itself. There have been no executions in Sri Lanka since 1976 although the death sentence had been handed out. Those sentenced to death automatically have it turned into life imprisonment. Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga proposed to introduce it but had to withdraw its implementation as a result of strong public opposition. In 2015, President Sirisena too said he would implement it if it was sanctioned by Parliament.