Sri Lanka frees Tamil Tiger leader

Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the last leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,was arrested in 2009.

    Sri Lanka frees Tamil Tiger leader
    Sri Lanka's military victory in 2009 ended the LTTE's 37-year-long struggle for an independent Tamil homeland [EPA]

    The last leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, who is wanted by India over the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been freed from military custody, the defence ministry said.

    Focus: Sri Lanka
     Sri Lanka's uneasy peace
     Q&A: Sri Lanka's civil war
     The history of the Tamil Tigers
     Timeline: Conflict in Sri Lanka
     Tamil diaspora sceptical over 'win'

    Selvarasa Pathmanathan, who was arrested in August 2009, was no longer in detention and was free to carry out work for a charity he had formed, said Lakshman Hulugalle, the head of the defence ministry's media centre.

    "Practically, there is no detention now," Hulugalle told reporters in Colombo on Wednesday, when asked how Pathmanathan, who has an Interpol arrest warrant initiated by India against him, was reportedly living in the island's north.

    "He is running a non-government organisation and doing work for the benefit of the people... and he is free to do his work," Hulugalle said. "There is no court case against him."

    Pathmanathan, the chief international arms buyer for Tigers, was appointed the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by its elusive leader Velupillai Prabhakaran just before he was killed by Sri Lankan troops in 2009.

    India regards the 58-year-old Pathmanathan as a key suspect in the May 1991 assassination of Gandhi by a Sri Lankan Tamil suicide bomber during an election rally in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

    Sri Lanka's military victory in May 2009 ended the LTTE's 37-year-long struggle for an independent Tamil homeland, one of Asia's longest running ethnic conflicts.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.