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Australians apply in vain for Sri Lankan hangman job

COLOMBO: Two Australians have applied in vain for Sri Lanka’s hangman job after the island nation’s last official executioner got upset on seeing the gallows for the first time and quit.

"Two Australians have sent emails to one of our departments saying that they are interested," Chandrarathna Pallegama, commissioner general of prisons, told Reuters on Thursday.

"One is a system administrator and the other had not mentioned the job he is doing," he said. "We have not called the applications, moreover we do not have any provisions to recruit foreigners."

Pallegama said on Tuesday the last hangman, who was third most qualified among 176 applicants for the job, quit after getting upset at seeing the gallows. Two hangmen chosen late last year failed to show up for work.

The Indian Ocean island nation, a predominantly Buddhist country, has not carried out an execution since 1976, despite the fact that there are at least 405 convicts on death row.

But an alarming rise in child abuse, rapes, murders and drug trafficking since the 25-year war against Tamil Tiger separatists ended in 2009 has prompted some lawyers and politicians to push for the death penalty to be reintroduced.