Colombo: Sri Lanka today released nearly 700 prisoners languishing in jails across the country to mark the visit of Pope Francis, the first Papal visit in 20 years.
Following the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena and Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapaksa, authorities released 692 prisoners who were imprisoned for minor offences and who were over 75-years-old.
Commissioner General of Prisons Chandraratna Pallegama said the prison terms of other prisoners were reduced by one week of each year in detention.
Pope John Paul II had paid a visit to the island nation in 1995.
During his engagements today, Pope Francis wished Sri Lankans find inspiration to build a future of reconciliation, justice and peace.