Expelled Sri Lanka ex-warlord returns from Britain

July 3, 2008 (AFP) – A former Sri Lankan Tamil guerrilla leader expelled from Britain returned Thursday after serving a brief jail term on immigration charges, officials said. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, also known as Colonel Karuna and who was jailed in London in January, was escorted back to Sri Lanka, airport officials said.

Karuna, who led an unprecedented split in the Tamil Tiger movement in March 2004, became an embarrassment for Colombo after he alleged that he was given a false diplomatic passport by Sri Lankan authorities to travel to London.

The fate of Karuna on his return Thursday was not immediately known, but his political party controls a provincial council in the multi-ethnic eastern province where he held sway before falling from grace.

Human rights group Amnesty International had called on Britain to investigate whether Karuna can be prosecuted there for war crimes, including abducting and using child soldiers.

Karuna, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, was the de facto number two of the Tamil Tigers before he defected.

After that, he reportedly worked with Sri Lanka’s armed forces to drive the Tigers out from a large rebel