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Sri Lanka president pardons militant who tried to kill him

Sri Lanka's president, Maithripala Sirisena, has pardoned a former Tamil Tiger militant convicted of trying to assassinate him more than a decade ago.

Mr Sirisena set free Sivaraja Jenivan at a ceremony to mark his first year in power. The men shook hands on stage.

Jenivan was arrested in 2006, but was only convicted - and given a 10-year prison sentence - last year.

The Tamil Tigers' 25-year fight for an independent state in the north of the country ended in their defeat in 2009.

Jenivan, now aged 36, was taken into custody in April 2006, accused of being part of an attempt a year earlier to kill Mr Sirisena, who was then a senior cabinet minister.
He was sentenced by the Polonnaruwa High Court only in July last year.

In pardoning him, Jenivan's lawyer said the president had taken into account the fact that the former militant had already been detained for 10 years.

At his anniversary celebration, President Sirisena pardoned and blessed Jenivan, touching him on the head and shaking his hand in front of a crowd.

He later tweeted a photo of himself on stage with Jenivan, with a caption reading: "Ordered Presidential Pardon to a prisoner who was serving time for attempting to assassinate me in 2005".