Colombo: Sri Lanka freed 1,414 convicts on Saturday to mark the country's 64th anniversary of independence from Britain, a prisons official said.

President Mahinda Rajapakse granted an amnesty to convicts serving light sentences, but Sri Lanka's most high-profile prisoner, former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, was not among those released.

There had been intense local media speculation that Rajapakse may use the Independence anniversary to pardon his rival.

Fonseka was arrested two weeks after he lost Presidential polls to Rajapakse in January 2010 and is currently serving a three-year sentence for alleging that the President's brother had ordered the execution of surrendering rebels.

Fonseka is also serving a concurrent 30-month sentence handed down after a court martial found him guilty of irregularities when he was Army Chief.

Fonseka lead troops in a military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels that ended the island's 37-year separatist war in May 2009. He fell out with Rajapakse over who should take credit for the victory.

(Agencies)