LTTE rebel Karuna freed, back in Lanka

Turncoat LTTE leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, popularly known as Colonel Karuna, returned to Colombo after serving a jail term in UK, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.
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Updated on Jul 05, 2008 02:00 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | BySutirtho Patranobis, Colombo

Turncoat LTTE leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, popularly known as Colonel Karuna, returned to Colombo on Thursday after serving a jail term in UK.

Karuna had fled to London last November but had been arrested by British authorities for violating immigration laws; he had reportedly fled Sri Lanka on forged diplomatic passport.

Media reports said that Karuna was escorted by four British officials to Colombo.

The former LTTE leader, considered at one time to be the second-most powerful leader after Prabhakaran, had founded the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) party. The party subsequently split and Karuna left the country soon after.

A prominent human rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has criticised the UK authorities for releasing Karuna from jail in May and not putting him on trial for alleged war crimes.

The group alleged that Karuna and forces under his command were directly involved in crimes of Sri Lanka's ongoing civil war, including torture, summary execution, and use of children as soldiers. “The British government had an alleged war criminal in custody for six months and couldn't manage to file charges,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a press release in London. “This was a rare opportunity to hold a leader of the Tamil Tigers accountable for horrific human rights abuses, and the British government blew It,” he said.

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