Sri Lanka may pardon surrendering rebel fighters

Sri Lanka's government said it was considering an amnesty for Tamil Tiger rebels who surrender - although not for leaders of the insurgency, which is facing defeat after 25 years of civil war. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said Sunday that officials from the attorney general's department were studying the legal basis for a possible pardon for separatists who surrender but that a final decision had not been made. He said any offer would not be open to rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and others convicted in Sri Lanka for various attacks or wanted in neighboring India for the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. "The leadership will be dealt with under the laws of the country," Samarasinghe said. Gandhi was blown up by a suspected Tamil Tiger female suicide bomber at an election rally in southern India in apparent revenge for sending a peacekeeping force to Sri Lanka in 1987.