The stern punishments have been proposed as yaba has spread across Bangladesh on a massive scale in recent times
The Narcotics Control Bill 2018 has been passed in parliament with a provision of death sentence or life-term imprisonment as punishment for producing, trading, and using 200 grams or more of yaba, or more than 25 grams of heroin and cocaine.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal tabled the bill and it was passed by voice vote on Saturday, reports UNB.
According to the bill, the punishment for transporting, trading, storing, producing, processing, applying and using 200 grams of yaba or its principal ingredient amphetamine, would be the death penalty or life-term imprisonment.
In case of less than 200 grams of yaba, the punishment would be a minimum of one year in jail and a maximum of five years in prison alongside a fine.
Yaba and amphetamines were included in the list of Category A narcotics in the proposed law, even though it is not in the existing Narcotics Control Act of 1990.
The stern punishments were proposed in the new law as yaba has spread across Bangladesh on a massive scale in recent times, government officials said earlier.
The punishment for transporting, trading, storing, producing, processing, applying and using more than 25 grams of narcotics originating from heroin, cocaine, and coca, would be the death penalty or life-term imprisonment, while for less than 25 grams Category A narcotics the punishment would be a minimum of two years in prison, and a maximum of 10 years in jail.
According to the bill, the maximum punishment for any individual or organization financing or patronizing drug dealing would be the death penalty too.
If any individual or organization finances, instigates or patronizes such crimes, they would face similar punishment as per the law.
In addition, yaba, shisha, khat, and dope tests were also incorporated in the draft bill as the existing Narcotics Control Act does not address drug testing.
The provision of fines was also kept for all the offences.
The existing act was creating serious legal complications as it had no provision to bring drug traders, patrons, and drug lords, into the legal net.
Officials at the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) and other law enforcement agencies earlier said there were some loopholes in the existing law, and drug dealers were using them to easily secure bail soon after arrest, and getting away.
On October 8, the Cabinet approved the bill in principle. Later, it was placed in parliament and sent to the concerned parliamentary standing committee on October 22 for further vetting.
The new draft of the 28-year-old law has been adjusted in line with other international anti-narcotics laws.
In May this year, the government launched a nationwide anti-narcotics drive that saw arrests of thousands of suspected drug barons and dealers, and deaths of hundreds in alleged gunfights between criminals and law enforcement officials during raids.