Ex-Sri Lankan army chief Fonseka released from prison

Last Updated: Tue, May 22, 2012 07:30 hrs

Jailed former Sri Lankan army chief General Sarath Fonseka has been released after more than two years.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa signed his release order. However, legal formalities have to be completed before he could walk free.

"I will devote my life [to] my people," BBC quoted General (retired) Fonseka, as saying as he came out of the Welikada Jail.

"I will sacrifice my life to serve the people of this country," he said, adding, "even if they put me in prison for ten years, I will not stop performing my duty."

His release came after Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris met U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington.

The U.S. has described the former army officer, who has been stripped of his rank as a four-star general, as a political prisoner.

General (retired) Fonseka attended to legal formalities at the Supreme Court before returning to jail prior to being freed.

Supporters say he was freed because of international pressure from human rights groups.

General (retired) Fonseka was detained in 2010 after losing presidential election campaign against Rajapaksa.

He led the army to victory over Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009. (ANI)

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