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Last updated: 25 January, 2008 - Published 11:28 GMT
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Gotabhaya 'gave me passport'
Defence Secretarty Gobhaya Rajapasa (L) with the president
Karuna says Defence Secretary 'arranged everything' for him
Sri Lankan paramilitary leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna, was sentenced for nine month imprisonment in London.

Mr. Justice McDowell made the ruling on Friday at the Isleworth Crown Court in West London after considering the fact that he has already served six weeks under custody.

Karuna sat behind a protective screen inside the courtroom and listened without expression as the judge handed down the sentence.

Gotabhaya 'arranged everything'

Sri Lanka's powerful Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 'arranged everything' for him to come to UK using a diplomatic passport, Karuna has told British immigration authorities.

Isleworth Crown Court (photo Saroj Pathirana)
Karuna sat behind a protective screen inside the courtroom

Reading Karuna's statement at the open court, the prossecution said President's Rajapaksa's younger brother was known to him since he defected from the LTTE.

The prosecutor said he pleaded guilty to a criminal offence under British immigration law, but said it was the Sri Lankan government that arranged a diplomatic passport for him.

The passport was given to him only inside the plane bound to UK, according to the statement.

Although he was not a government official, he was protected by the Sri Lanka government, it added.

Government denies

The prosecutor added that the Sri Lankan government denied all allegations.

Ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party, meanwhile has entered into an electoral pact with TMVP, formerly headed by Karuna.

Defence Counsel, David Philips (photo Saroj Pathirana)
Lawyer says Karuna is yet to apply for political asylum in UK

On Thursday, Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama denied any involvement of the government in providing a diplomatic passport and a third person note to facilitate Karuna's visa to enter the UK.

Colonel Karuna Amman was arrested by the UK authorities in November last year.

He pleaded guilty to a criminal offence under the ID cards act for possessing a false passport on 24 December when the case was taken at a magistrates court.

Karuna's legal representative, David Philips, told the BBC after the judgement that he might apply for political asylum after serving the prison sentence.

Political asylum

"He hasn't applied for asylum because until the sentencing takes palce for a criminal case, no immigration officer will even entertain an application," he said.

There were earleir reports that Karuna has applied for aylum as he was arrested in his office in a wealthy London suburb of Kensington.

Karuna says Sri Lankan govt. protected him though he was not an official

Mr. Philiops added that Karuna would want to stay in the UK as 'his wife and three children already live' in the country.

Human rights groups now want the British government to prosecute Colonel Karuna for human right abuses.

Kevin Laue, a representative from Redress Trust, which supports survivors of torture, told the BBC that the human rights organisations should now focus on presurising the authorities to bring charges against Karuna on rights violations in Sri Lanka.

Human Rights Watch has earlier called on British authorities to charge Karuna for war crimes.

Amnesty International (AI) says the judgement is helpful as it gives more time to investigate rights abuses.

"It will be tragedy if he is allowed to leave either voluntarily or otherwise after serving his sentenced without the police having thoroughly investigated whether there is evidence for him to be tried," AI said.

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