Urgent Action: 13 Prisoners at Risk of Imminent Execution (Sri Lanka: UA 45.19)

After 43 years without using the death penalty, the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, is reportedly planning to execute prisoners on death row. There is complete secrecy around identities of the prisoners who are expected to be imminently executed. No information about their case histories has been shared. It is unknown whether the individuals had fair trials, access to lawyers or whether they were able to engage in a meaningful clemency process. The last execution in Sri Lanka was in 1976. 2019 cannot be the year that we see this this progress reversed.



  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 45.19. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
President Maithripala Sirisena
Presidential Secretariat
Galle Face

Colombo 01
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 (11) 2340340
Email: [email protected]
Charge d’Affairs Sarath Dissanayake
Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
3025 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 483 4025 I 4026 I 4027 I 4028
Fax: 202 232 7181
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear H.E. President Maithripala Sirisena,

I write to you to plead for the lives of the 13 prisoners whom you have said you will be executing in the coming days.

We understand that you are determined to combat drug use and drug-related crime in Sri Lanka. However, executions will not help with that.

There is no evidence that implementing the death penalty will end drug-related crime. Many of the shrinking number of countries that still use executions for drug-related crime recognize the failure of the death penalty to act as a deterrent, including Iran and Malaysia.

There is no coming back from a flawed judicial process. The punishment is absolute. The mistakes are irredeemable, which can lead to someone innocent paying the ultimate price.

If you implement the death penalty, President Sirisena, it is a line you cannot uncross.

I implore you to reconsider your decision to hang these 13 prisoners, and commute their sentences. Please retain Sri Lanka’s positive death penalty record and establish a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolish the death penalty entirely.

Yours sincerely,