On 7 February 2019, President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka told parliament that he would authorise the death penalty for those jailed on drugs charges ‘within the next two months’.
As a result, Sri Lanka has begun a search for two executioners with ‘strong moral character’ as part of a crackdown on drug smuggling. While capital punishment is legal in Sri Lanka there have been no executions since 1976. And they haven’t had much luck with their recruitment either.
Sri Lanka has struggled to find a permanent executioner since its last hangman resigned five years ago. He resigned after seeing the gallows for the first time and going into shock. Another was hired last year, but never turned up for work.
In February, the Department of Prisons ran the following advert. Not particularly inspiring. But we’re an employer branding and marketing agency. So we thought we should help out a little. The only problem is … we aren’t really sold on the idea of capital punishment.