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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 16:07 GMT
Renegade Tamil rebel jailed in UK
Col Karuna, a  former Tamil Tiger commander in Sri Lanka
Col Karuna was once second-in-command in the Tamil Tigers
A former leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Col Karuna, has been sentenced to nine months' imprisonment by a UK court for identity fraud.

Col Karuna was arrested in London late last year for carrying an apparently genuine Sri Lankan diplomatic passport issued under a false name.

A former commander of the Tamil Tiger rebels, he left them in 2004 to fight alongside government forces.

Human rights groups want the UK government to try him for war crimes.

Troops under his command - both before and after he changed sides - are accused of torture, murder and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Campaigners for human-rights groups say witnesses have been unwilling to come forward to testify against him.

Extra-judicial killings remain widespread in Sri Lanka, where a peace deal between the government and the Tigers has broken down.

British 'concern'

In court on Friday, Col Karuna said he had received the false diplomatic passport from the Sri Lankan government.

He said the defence secretary in Colombo, who is also the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had arranged the documents for him.

A court official told Reuters news agency Col Karuna had been "sentenced to nine months in prison for holding false identity documents.

"He has already served 32 days on remand," the official said.

Col Karuna, whose real name is V Muralitharan, was arrested on 2 November at a flat in the London district of Kensington.

The British Foreign Office said in December that it had told the Sri Lankan government of its "concern" at how Col Karuna had acquired a diplomatic passport under a false name.

Sri Lanka's government denies it has any links to Col Karuna.



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