COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Former army chief Sarath Fonseka was released from prison Monday (May 21st), more than two years after he was jailed following his unsuccessful bid to unseat the president in 2010.
"I am free. I will devote my life for my people," Fonseka shouted as he emerged from Welikada prison in Colombo, after receiving a pardon from his former rival President Mahinda Rajapaksa, AFP reported.
Fonseka led the armed forces to victory over Tamil Tiger militants in 2009, but then fell out with Rajapaksa over who deserved most credit for the military campaign, and ran against the president in the 2010 election. According to the Daily Mirror, Fonseka tallied 4.1 million votes at the polls.
Two weeks after his poll defeat by Rajapaksa in January 2010, Fonseka was detained on a charge of corruption relating to military procurements. He was given a 30-month jail sentence in September 2010.
In November 2011, Fonseka was sentenced to three more years in jail for saying that Tiger militants who surrendered had been killed on the orders of the president's brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is defence secretary.
According to the Mirror, he was elected to Parliament during the last general election but lost his seat because of the charges against him.
In the wake of deadly jail beatings of a Pakistani and an Indian prisoner that rattled bilateral relations, students at South Asian University have taken up the cause of peace and harmony between t...