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Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 17:13 UK

Renegade S Lanka leader goes home

Colonel Karuna
Last year Col Karuna was arrested in the UK

Former Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger renegade Col Karuna has arrived in Colombo after completing a prison sentence in the UK, British embassy officials say.

Embassy spokesman Dominic Williams told the BBC that Col Karuna had been removed from a UK detention centre and deported to Sri Lanka on 2 July.

The embassy refused to give any more details about his arrival.

A spokesman for his Tamil Peoples' Liberation Tigers party said that the colonel was "delighted" to be home.

But in an interview with the BBC, he said that the colonel would not be offered the position of chief minister of Eastern Province, which was won by an alliance led by the government - containing the Tamil Peoples' Liberation Tigers - in elections in May.

Security concerns

Col Karuna was the commander of rebel territory in eastern Sri Lanka and effectively number two in the Tiger military organisation.

Col Karuna in 2004

But in 2004 Col Karuna defected and began fighting alongside government forces against the Tigers.

Col Karuna was sent to jail in the UK in January for identity fraud after being arrested in London late last year.

He said his forged diplomatic passport and visa were arranged for him by the Sri Lankan defence secretary.

Human rights group Amnesty International expressed disappointment that despite six months of investigation the British authorities did not find enough evidence to charge him for war crimes.




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