Sri Lanka frees ex-army chief from prison

May 21, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka former army chief Sarath Fonseka walked out of prison on Monday to a hero’s welcome, after President Mahinda Rajapakse ordered his release. Fonseka unsuccessfully tried to unseat Rajapakse in the January 2010 presidential election. The two fell-out as to who should take credit to crush the Tigers in May 2009, that ended nearly four-decades of bloodshed.

The government detained Fonseka two weeks after his election defeat in February 2010, on charges of corruption relating to military purchases. He was convicted given a 30-month jail sentence in September 2010.

Last November, Fonseka was also convicted and sentenced to three-years in jail for saying that Tiger surrenders were killed on the orders of Rajapakse’s younger brother Gotabhaya, who is defence secretary.

Fonseka has also earned the wrath of Rajapakse by expressing willingness to testify before any international tribunal that is investigating alleged war crimes charges after the United Nations said tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final months of the war

A US green-card holder, Fonseka was named a political prisoner in the US State Department’s 2010 human