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

The statement 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 crimes.

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.

Amnesty International says legislative amendments in Iran have resulted in a significant decrease in executions of people convicted of drug-related offenses.

It said trials in Sri Lanka of those facing possible execution could fail to meet fair international standards, due to torture and forced confessions being routinely practiced in the criminal justice system, as noted by the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and United Nations officials.

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