A Tamil Tiger cadre was today sentenced to 30 years in prison for conspiring and attempting to kill the former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1999.
Though Kumaratunga escaped the bid on her life but she lost one eye in a blast at her election rally in Colombo Town Hall premises in December 1999 in which 26 people were killed and 80 others injured.
Colombo High Court Judge W T M P D Waraweva sentenced Pachchavel Ilangeshwaram, an ethnic Tamil man who was 19 at the time of the crime, and six others on various counts related to conspiracy to assassinate Kumaratunga.
The accused pleaded not guilty earlier but changed his plea to guilty later. Kumaratunga had to be rushed to London for medical treatment. The case was being heard since 2001.
Soon after the attack, Kumaratunga had said she was not "hysterical" about her injury, despite the loss of sight. She said: "Medically (the doctors say) I can carry on but probably I have lost the sight of one eye." Asked if she would be afraid to go out now she replied, "I'm surprised that I don't feel fear". "I feel that there is something special that somebody somewhere wants me to do," the BBC had reported.
Kumaratunga had maintained said she believed she had survived because she was meant to be a "messenger of peace".