Muscat: Proposals to introduce death penalty for drug dealers trafficking narcotics into Oman have received the backing of the State Council, according to a member.
In a move to combat drug trafficking more aggressively, the State Council has called for death penalty to drug traffickers. The suggestion has been welcomed by many on social media with many saying there must be an end to the drugs trade in the Sultanate.
Welcoming the move, Khalid Hamdan, a psychologist working in Sultan Qaboos University, said that death penalty would indeed deter drug traffickers.
"This will lead to a significant drop in drug trafficking cases as well as drug abuse cases in the Sultanate," he said.
The State Council approved the amendment to include the proposal of death penalty in the drugs law, in the session chaired by Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh Al Mantheri, chairman of the State Council. This proposal still needs to be discussed at a higher level before becoming a law.
"A number of the State Council members focused in their discussions on how to tighten the penalties on drugs trading or abusing," said a member, while adding that most of them called for death penalty for drug traffickers.
"Due to trafficking of drugs, the number of victims jumped five times between 2009 and 2013, therefore, there must be heftier penalties for drug traders," said the member.
While in 2009, the number of drugs trafficking cases was 66, it reached 290 in 2013.
The number of cases registered in the Central Register were 4,150 until the end of 2013, an increase of 215 cases over 2012.
The State Council session discussed the report of the Social Committee on the amendments to the drugs law and psychotropic substances No. (17/99).
"The State Council made changes to the Articles No. 220.127.116.11.61 and inserted two new ones," said the member.
The State Council also suggested a proposal to develop a comprehensive national strategy to combat drugs and psychotropic substances, the member added.
Meanwhile, an official at the Directorate- General for Combating Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances told the Times of Oman that seas and oceans that surround the Arab countries turn them into an easy transit route between the drug-producing areas in Asia and the areas where drugs are consumed in Europe and the Middle East.
About the drug menace in the Sultanate, the official said that the issue is very pertinent, particularly because drugs target the youth segment, both men and women, and more efforts need to be made to combat it.
The Sultanate, with its 3,165km coastline, is exposed to drug smuggling, the official added. According to the official, heroin was the main drug seized by the ROP in 2013. The number of drug addicts reached more than 1,400 in 2013, compared to 1,258 in 2012.
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