In a historic decision, the Cabinet of Bangladesh has approved the draft Narcotics Control Act 2018 by introducing provisions of death penalty as the maximum punishment for producing, smuggling, distributing and using over 5 gm of banned drug Yaba.
A report published on Monday by Dhaka Tribune stated that it has been proposed that life in jail would be the minimum punishment for the similar offence as per the new law.
According to the draft Narcotics Control Act 2018, the accused will be sent to the jail for 15 years as the maximum punishment and five years in jail as the minimum punishment for carrying or trafficking or smuggling less than 5 gm of Yaba.
The decision came as the use of Yaba in Bangladesh has gone up in the past decade becoming it a major concern for the authorities. Yaba is a highly addictive stimulant that takes a serious toll on the body and mind. The users of Yaba can easily become agitated, confused and even suicidal.
The draft Act was approved on Monday at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Dhaka chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office.
The draft Act also proposes to introduce death penalty as the maximum punishment for producing, smuggling, distributing and using 25 gm or more of ‘Category A’ drugs including cocaine or heroin.
The report quoted Cabinet Secretary Md Shafiul Alam as briefing reporters after the meeting: “The draft also incorporates a provision of maximum 25 years and minimum two years in prison for carrying less than 25 gm ‘Category A’ drugs that includes heroin and cocaine.”
“The new draft of the 28-year-old law [Narcotics Control Act 1990] has been adjusted in line with the other international anti-narcotics laws,” he added.
Stating that the stern punishments were proposed in the new law as Yaba has spread across Bangladesh in a massive scale in recent times, Alam reportedly said, “Yaba, shisha bars and dope testing were new additions to the law, which would also cover all kinds of narcotic substances, once passed.”