Sri Lanka frees 1,400 prisoners on freedom day

Last Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 21:22

Colombo: Sri Lanka freed 1,414 convicts on Saturday
to mark the country`s 64th anniversary of independence from
Britain, a prisons official said.

President Mahinda Rajapakse granted an amnesty to
convicts serving light sentences, but Sri Lanka`s most
high-profile prisoner, former army chief and defeated
presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, was not among those
released.

There had been intense local media speculation that
Rajapakse may use the Independence anniversary to pardon his
rival.

Fonseka was arrested two weeks after he lost presidential
polls to Rajapakse in January 2010 and is currently serving a
three-year sentence for alleging that the president`s brother
had ordered the execution of surrendering rebels.

Fonseka is also serving a concurrent 30-month sentence
handed down after a court martial found him guilty of
irregularities when he was Army Chief.

Fonseka lead troops in a military campaign against the
Tamil Tiger rebels that ended the island`s 37-year separatist
war in May 2009. He fell out with Rajapakse over who should
take credit for the victory.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 21:22

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