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Updated: August 14, 2010 02:23 IST

Court martial finds Fonseka guilty

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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A Sri Lankan court martial, probing charges that General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka dabbled in politics while in uniform, has found him guilty and recommended him for a ‘dishonourable discharge from rank.’ File photo
AP
A Sri Lankan court martial, probing charges that General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka dabbled in politics while in uniform, has found him guilty and recommended him for a ‘dishonourable discharge from rank.’ File photo

A Sri Lankan court martial, probing charges that General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka dabbled in politics while in uniform, has found him guilty and recommended him for a ‘dishonourable discharge from rank.'

A decision on the recommendation of the military court will have to be taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the supreme commander of the armed forces. A press statement by the Army said the court martial convicted Gen. Fonseka of all ‘three charges' and recommended that he be ‘cashiered.'

A statement on the Presidential Secretariat Website said that when an officer was cashiered, he would lose the rank and all the awards/honours received as a military officer. Gen. Fonseka successfully led the war against the LTTE and became the first military officer in the island nation to be elevated to the rank of a four-star General.

The former Army Chief fell out with Mr. Rajapaksa within months of the military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. He unsuccessfully fought the January presidential election as the common Opposition candidate.

Gen. Fonseka was arrested by the military in February on several charges and President Rajapaksa constituted two separate courts-martial to hold an enquiry into the charges, including a plot to destabilise the government.

The lawyers of the General have been quoted as saying in the local media that the former Army Chief would contest the court-martial conviction in a court of law.

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Why do outstanding service officers decide to change tracks and go in for politics, a line far removed from their original career? Gen Sarath Fonseca set a record of sorts with his spectacular military victory over the LTTE. In fact his campaign has become a subject for study in many military institutions. It is indeed a huge tragedy that he is undergoing something now that he would never have dreamed of.
It is futile for soldiers today to emulate people like Dwight Eisenhower, Charles De Gaulle, Gamel Abdel Nasser or Joseph Tito.

from:  JK Dutt
Posted on: Aug 14, 2010 at 03:17 IST
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