Amnesty urges Sri Lanka to halt death penalty plan

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Amnesty International is urging Sri Lanka to halt plans to resume executions after more than four decades, saying capital punishment will not end drug-related crimes.

The statement Wednesday by the rights group came two days after Sri Lanka president Maithripala Sirisena announced that dates have been set for the country's first executions in 43 years amid rising alarm over drug-related crime.

Authorities have intensified a crackdown on narcotics to deter smugglers from using the Indian Ocean island nation as a transit point for distribution in the region.

Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director of Amnesty International, said there is no perfect criminal justice system and the risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated.