Sri Lanka frees 736 convicts on prison day

COLOMBO, September 12, 2013 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Thursday released 736 convicts after they were given a presidential pardon to mark the country’s prisoner day, officials said. Convicts serving time for minor offences were granted the amnesty and walked free from 22 jails across the country, prisons department spokesman Gamini Kulatunga said.
“The president (Mahinda Rajapakse) granted the special pardon to mark prisoner day,” Kulatunga said.

“Those who benefited were convicts serving short jail terms for minor offences like non-payment of fines.” About 60 were released from the country’s maximum security Welikada prison where police and security forces opened fire and killed 27 inmates in November while trying to control a riot.