He is the president who presided over the crushing defeat of the Tamil Tigers.
Almost 2,000 former rebel fighters in Sri Lanka have been released.
They were among thousands of Tamil Tigers who surrendered or were arrested near the end of the country’s bloody civil war, which spanned more than a quarter of a century.
At a ceremony to announce their release, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, called on the 1,800 former fighters to move forward and work together with the government in the future.
Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez reports from the capital, Colombo.