News Update :

Mahinda Rajapaksa orders release from prison the former army chief

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Colombo, May 20 - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pardoned former prison army commander Sarath Fonseka and authorized his release, a presidential spokesman said Sunday.

Bandula Jayasekera said the document authorizing the release of Fonseka was signed by the President before he leaves for an official visit to Qatar on Saturday night, according to Xinhua.

"President Rajapaksa signed the papers and handed them over to his chief of staff before leaving for Qatar to allow the release of Fonseka. Documents will be sent to the Department of Justice on Monday," said Jayasekera.

Fonseka led the army during the final battle against the rebels that led to the end of the war three-decade civil in May 2009.

However, he was arrested and jailed after he contested against Rajapaksa for the post of president for the 2010 elections.

He was accused of harboring deserters from the army, and illegal arms transactions allegedly telling a newspaper that the soldiers shot and killed unarmed Tamil rebels who had surrendered in the last stages of the war.

Fonseka, who is receiving treatment for an illness at a private hospital in Colombo, will be released once the documents are sent to prison authorities.

Rajapaksa last week received approval of his cabinet to free up prison Fonseka.

Jayasekera insisted the decision to release Fonseka was not because of international pressure or requirements of local political parties.

An opposition legislator would have had several discussions with the president to secure the release Fonseka and later told reporters that the talks were successful.

Sri Lanka Friday celebrated three years after the end of the Civil War.

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