POPE WATCH: Sri Lanka frees prisoners to mark pope's visit

January 14, 2015 10:44 AM

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To mark Pope Francis' visit, Sri Lanka's Prisons Department announced the release of 612 prisoners convicted for minor offenses. Local television networks showed the prisoners walking through prison gates, greeting a Catholic priest and then dispersing to head home.

Pope Francis headed by helicopter to a well-known Catholic shrine in Madhu, a tiny town in Sri Lanka's north that was often controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels — and often a scene of violence — during the country's 25-year civil war.

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