President pardons Fonseka

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pardoned and authorised the release of jailed former army commander Sarath Fonseka, a Presidential spokesman said today.

President’s spokesman Bandula Jayasekera said that the document’s authorising Fonseka’s release were signed by the President before he left on an official visit to Qatar late last evening.

“President Rajapaksa signed the papers and handed them over to his chief of staff before leaving for Qatar to enable the release of Fonseka. The papers will be sent to the Justice Ministry on monday,” Jayasekera said in a twitter message.

Fonseka, who is receiving treatment at the  Nawaloka hospital for an ailment, will be freed from prison once the papers are sent to the prison authorities.

The President had last week obtained his cabinet’s approval to free Fonseka from prison, the same week Sri Lanka celebrated three years since the end of the 30 year war against the LTTE.

Jayasekera earlier insisted that the decision to free Fonseka was not as a result of international pressure or demands from local political parties.

Democratic National Alliance MP Tiran Alles met Fonseka last week after meeting the President and the President later met Fonseka’s wife Anoma Fonseka to discuss matters concerning the former army commander’s release.