Colombo: Sri Lanka’s newly elected President on Wednesday pardoned former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who led the military in a 26-year war against Tamil Tiger separatists but was later jailed by the government of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Fonseka was convicted of offences ranging from corruption to engaging in politics in uniform after he challenged Rajapaksa in the presidential election of 2010. Fonseka lost the election by 18 percentage points.

The convictions stripped Fonseka of his rank as a four-star general and all the benefits due a retired military chief. President Maithripala Sirisena’s pardon was the first step towards restoring Fonseka’s rank and civil rights, a spokesman for the president said.

The 64-year-old war veteran was arrested on 8 February 2010 and sentenced to 30 months in jail in October 2010. He was released in May 2012. Reuters

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