May 20 - Sarath Fonseka, lauded as a hero by supporters for crushing a bloody insurgency in Sri Lanka, is to be released from prison after spending two years behind bars on disputed charges. Andrew Raven reports.
This is former general Sarath Fonseka - a man once lauded in Sri Lanka for helping end a bloody, 25-year-long insurgency by rebels. He has spent the last two years in jail on charges supporters say were politically motived. But on Sunday, Sri Lanka announced Fonseka would be released early, an apparent bid to quell international criticism of its human rights record. The order came from president Mahindra Rajapaksa - seen here congratulating Fonseka in 2009 amid an offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels. Fonseka challenged Rajapaksa for the presidency in 2010, only to fall short and be jailed just weeks later. Fonseka's release comes just days after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Sri Lanka's foreign minister to address human rights issues. Andrew Raven, Reuters