I’m opposed to the death penalty: MR

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Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said he had always been against the implementation of the death penalty and had refused to sign any of the death warrants during his term as President.

Responding to questions asked by journalists at the Sri Wijayasundaramaya in Horapawita, Kumburupitiya, he said the President should not act in haste when it comes to assigning such duties to the executioners.

“There are courts to do that. Even I was given these documents but I didn’t sign them. The President has highlighted the word ‘drugs’ as the reason to implement the death penalty. This is not the way to do these things,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.

When asked whether the reason behind implementing the death penalty was the upcoming presidential election, Mr. Rajapaksa said he did not think so.

“If one can become the President by implementing the death penalty, even we have a lot of people to hang. I do not think the President is doing so with the intention of winning elections,” he said.

Commenting about fresh cases filed in a US court against former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the opposition leader said it was the work of the diaspora and when asked if this would be an obstacle for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to contest the presidential elections, the opposition leader said, “It won’t be an obstacle, if he wants to contest.”