Four others were also released.

A Sri Lankan court on Wednesday acquitted a rebel-turned lawmaker on charges he was involved in the murder of a Tamil-born lawmaker at the height of the island’s long civil war.

The Batticaloa court in the east of the city has released Sivanesathurai Chandarakanthan, who won a seat in his detention in the parliamentary elections last August, representing a party that backs President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Four others were also released.

The Ministry of the Attorney General told the court earlier this week that it did not intend to pursue the case against Chandrakanthan.

Chandrakanthan was a former child soldier of the Tamil Tiger rebel group who waged a quarter-century civil war to create an independent state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnic minority in the north and east of the island.

He then joined a renegade faction that emerged from the rebel group’s largest split in 2004 and functioned as a paramilitary group supporting government forces.

His faction played a key role in the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in Eastern Province, the precursor to their total rout in 2009. Allegations of kidnappings, torture and murder against his faction have never been the subject of a thorough investigation.

He then entered electoral politics and became the chief minister supported by the government of the Eastern Province.

With the electoral defeat of then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the older brother of the current president, Chandrakanthan was arrested and charged with participating in the shooting death of rebel-backed Tamil lawmaker Joseph Pararajasingham during the service of Midnight Christmas in a church in Batticaloa in 2005.

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