[JURIST] Former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was freed from prison Monday after being pardoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa [BBC profile; JURIST news archive].
Fonseka, who is credited with bringing an end to the 26-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was arrested [JURIST report] shortly after his defeat in the January 2009 presidential election in which he ran against Rajapaksa. He was convicted on corruption charges [JURIST report] in 2010 and sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was sentenced in November to an additional three years in prison [JURIST report] for implicating his country’s defense secretary in war crimes at the end of the civil war. The pardon and release came amid international pressure [AP report], with US officials calling Fonseka a political prisoner.