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Freedom for jailed former army boss

Sri Lanka's president has ordered authorities to free the country's jailed former army chief turned presidential candidate.

A presidential spokesman said President Mahinda Rajapaksa signed papers ordering the release of Sarath Fonseka.

The papers will be sent to the Justice Ministry on Monday.

Fonseka is serving a 30-month jail term after a court-martial found him guilty of planning his political career while still in the military and of committing fraud in purchasing military equipment.

A separate court has sentenced him to three years for implicating the defence secretary and president's brother in war crimes during Sri Lanka's civil war. Fonseka has appealed against that conviction.

Fonseka has said the cases are a political vendetta because he challenged Mr Rajapaksa in a 2010 election.

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