Sri Lanka turning back the clock on human rights – Richard Branson

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Urging Sri Lanka not to reinstate the death penalty, British billionaire Sir Richard Branson says that Sri Lanka is ‘turning back the clock on human rights’ by resuming executions.

“Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena wants to bring back the death penalty in Sri Lanka. I hope he takes a cue from the Maldives president and decides otherwise,” the business tycoon said in a twitter message.

He stated that Executions can be devastating and are never the solution. “The wonderful people of Sri Lanka deserve better than this,” he stressed.

“Sri Lanka turning back the clock on human rights by resuming executions. Disappointing news from a beautiful country,” he said in a separate tweet.

The Virgin Group founder also urged people to sign Amnesty International’s petition to speak out against the death penalty.

Sri Lanka’s President on Wednesday signed death sentences for four people convicted of drug-related offences.

“I have already signed the death penalty for four (convicts). It will be implemented soon and we have already decided the date as well,” Maithripala Sirisena told reporters in Colombo, without giving details.

He said the four could appeal their convictions on charges of trading and trafficking in drugs.

International human rights groups including Amnesty have urges Sri Lanka not to end a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and warned that such a measure would be ineffective.