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Sri Lanka: Follow up to LKA31926.E of 28 June 1999 regarding the treatment of persons convicted of drug trafficking in Sri Lanka and/or abroad; penalties for drug trafficking and drug offences in general (1998-1999)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 16 February 2000
Citation / Document Symbol LKA33882.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sri Lanka: Follow up to LKA31926.E of 28 June 1999 regarding the treatment of persons convicted of drug trafficking in Sri Lanka and/or abroad; penalties for drug trafficking and drug offences in general (1998-1999), 16 February 2000, LKA33882.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad5e9a.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The following information was provided by the Director of the Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association in correspondence dated 18 October 1999:

Currently the major proportion of those in prison (approximately 42%) are for illegal drug related offences. The prison authorities classify them as either users or peddlers/traffickers. This classification is dependent upon the quantity seized on the person. An amount of heroin less than 1 gram on a person would make such a person a user, while anything over would make the person a peddler/trafficker.

Further, this classification might also depend on whether the person is able to pay the fine imposed for possession.

There is no difference between the treatment of a person convicted for an illegal drug offence or any other offence. In all instances convicts undergo 47 hours of work per week in carpentry, tailoring, masonry, printing or weaving workshops, or cooking, cleaning, etc. A prisoner is also entitled to early release for good behaviour.

While there are several prisoners in death row, there have been no hangings for several years. There has been some debate recently, on the reintroduction of capital punishment. It is most unlikely that this will happen.

The Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance of 1935, most recently amended by Act No: 13 of 1984, is the principal statutory enactment. Under this Ordinance, acts considered crimes include possession, consumption and manufacture of illicit drugs (including any process in producing, refining or transforming them). It is also a crime to sell, give, obtain, procure, store, administer, transport, send, deliver, distribute, traffic, import or export such drugs, and aid or abet the commission of such offences.

The penalties for drug offences range from fines to death or life imprisonment. The penalty of death or life imprisonment may be imposed for the manufacture of heroin, cocaine, morphine or opium or trafficking, possession, import or export of a minimum amount of (a) 500 grams of opium, (b) 3 grams of morphine, (c) 2 grams of cocaine; and (d) 2 grams of heroin. The fine or imprisonment may also depend upon the quantity of the drugs, the gravity of the offence and the jurisdiction of the Courts.

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

Director, Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association, Colombo. 18 October 1999. Correspondence.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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