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Sri Lankan court releases priest accused of helping rebels
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08:01, August 24, 2007

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The Colombo Magistrate Thursday ordered the release of a Tamil Hindu priest accused by the authorities of helping Tamil Tiger rebels, officials said.

The priest and the trustee of the Hindu temple in the Kayts island of the northern Jaffna peninsula were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in May after explosives belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were found hidden in the temple premises.

They had been detained by the Terrorism Investigation Division in the capital Colombo since their arrest resulting in their filing a fundamental rights petition seeking release.

However when the case was taken up on Thursday, the Attorney General told the court that no sufficient evidence were available to indict them.

Both the priest and the trustee told the court they were not aware of any information on the arms found in the temple.

The LTTE has been fighting the government since the mid-1980s to establish a separate homeland for the minority Tamils in the north and east claiming discrimination at the hands of the Sinhala majority.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the island's separatist armed conflict during the last two decades.

Source: Xinhua

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