Bangladesh's cabinet on Monday approved a draft law prescribing the death penalty for drug offences, despite widespread criticism over a drugs crackdown in which police have shot dead more than 200 people since May.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the campaign ahead of a general election due by December, but the killings have prompted fears among rights groups of a bloody Philippine-style campaign to wipe out drugs.
The Narcotics Control Act defines methamphetamines, also known as ‘yaba’, and other drugs, such as ‘shisha’, as narcotics for the first time, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting chaired by Hasina.
‘It proposes the death sentence as maximum punishment for producing, smuggling, distributing and using more than 5 gm of 'yaba',’ he said, adding that possession of less than 5 gm (0.18 oz) would attract a maximum jail term of five years.
Alam said the stern punishment was needed to curb the spread of the highly potent stimulant smuggled in from neighbouring Myanmar.
Hasina has vowed to continue the campaign until Bangladesh is freed of the drug menace, but critics say it as a sign of her increasingly authoritarian rule ahead of the election.
In more than a third of the killings recorded by Dhaka-based human rights group Odhikar since mid-May, the suspects were arrested before they were killed.
The government has dismissed accusations of extrajudicial killings, saying the crackdown has popular support.Last updated: October 08 2018 05:57 PM
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Bangladesh ferry disaster death toll climbs to 61
Bangladesh ferry accident kills 24, dozens missing
2 arrested in Bangladesh for criticising new bridge
Thousands of Rohingya in Bangladesh rally to ‘go home’
Thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh rally to 'go home'
25 dead, four million stranded in Bangladesh floods
'Gone in front of my eyes': Bangladesh firefighter's unit decimated by blast
Bangladesh depot accused over blast that killed at least 49
Ash covers towns after Philippines volcano erupts