Colombo, Oct 24 (IANS) Eight former Tamil rebels, including three sentenced for the
attempted assassination of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, were released on Presidential pardon for Diwali celebrations.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe granted amnesty to eight Tamil prisoners under the powers vested in him to grant amnesty to a person convicted by country’s court and allowed to celebrate Diwali with their family members in northern Sri Lanka.
Former President Kumaratunga had consented to release the three prisoners who were serving long years of sentences after they were convicted for her attempted assassination during an election rally in 1999. The attempted assassination was carried out by exploding a powerful bomb during the final election rally of Kumaratunga in December 1999 in Colombo.
Though saved, Kumaratunga lost one eye in the blast that killed 26 and wounded 80.
The release of former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has come in the wake several discussions between Tamil MPs and the President on several occasions. Before the release, investigations had been carried out on the prisoners and criminal records with the participation of Justice Ministry and the Attorney General, who had originally indicted them, the President’s Office said in a statement.
Following the end of war in May 2009, Tamil political parties had been urging all the elected governments to grant public amnesty to nearly 100 prisoners who had been detained without prosecution and imprisoned for long years.