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Leader of the Tamil Tigers sentenced to 200 years
AFAR
11/1/2002 12:40:00 PM



COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Vellupillai Probakharan, the leader of the Tamil Tiger rebel group, has been sentenced to 200 years in jail. He was convicted of killing more than 200 people in a truck bombing in 1996.

The group has been fighting since 1983 for a homeland for the Tamils. More than 65,000 people have died from the ethnic conflicts.

A cease-fire, brokered by the Norwegian government, has been in effect since February and a groundbreaking first round of talks last month in Thailand between the Sri Lankan government and the ethnic Tamil rebels has raised optimism for a final peace deal.

This sentence comes as representatives from Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tigers began a second round of peace talks Thursday in Thailand.

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