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Wanted: Sri Lanka hangman

Sri Lanka on Tuesday began interviews for the post of hangman a year after two positions fell vacant, with at least 480 convicts on death row.

But it was not quite clear how the two successful candidates would fill their days - the death penalty has not been used in Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country, since 1976.

"About 176 applicants are there and interviews are going on today and tomorrow," Gamini Kulatunga, commissioner operations at the Prisons Department, told Reuters. "Only males will be eligible for the post."

The two posts fell vacant after one hangman was promoted and the other retired.

At least 480 people convicted of murder and drugs offenses could potentially be executed, Kulatunga said.

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

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