The Sri Lankan Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of retired General Sarath Fonseka. He is currently in the custody of the military on a number of charges including treason.
The commander turned politician was picked up on the night of February 8 after a raid on his election office by a group of military personnel. The raid and the subsequent detention triggered a furore within and outside Sri Lanka.
Within days of his arrest Anoma Fonseka, wife of General Fonseka moved the Supreme Court appealing to declare the arrest as illegal and order his immediate release.
The Fundamental Rights petition sought the right to freedom from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention. Today the court said the immediate family members of the former Army Chief and his lawyers would have access to him.
On Monday, Gen. Fonseka was formally named as the leader of the newly floated Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and the ultra-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Perumana would be a key constituent of the alliance.
The announcement is a formal acknowledgement of split in the ranks of the opposition parties that had come together during the presidential election in support of the former Army Chief.
Anoma Fonseka made the announcement on the formation of the new alliance at a news conference here. It was also announced that Gen. (retd) Fonseka would fight for a parliamentary seat from the Colombo district.
It is still not clear if Gen. Fonseka would face any legal hurdles in the filing of his nomination papers as he is in military custody facing a number of serious charges. Friday is the last date for the filing of nomination papers for the parliamentary election.
Dhanuna Tillekaratne still missing
Separately, the Daily Mirror web site reported that the Criminal Investigations Department’s (CID) informed the court on Tuesday that although a warrant had been issued for Dhanuna Tillekaratne, son-in-law of General Sarath Fonseka, he was still absconding.
“Under the directions of a senior CID officer, all the identified places had been inspected and statements recorded,” the CID investigator told the court.
The Daily Mirror said the Colombo Fort Magistrate has turned down the CID request to issue a proclamation on Dhanuna Tillekaratne and to issue an order for the confiscation of property belonging to him since he was absconding court. The Magistrate, Lanka Jayaratne, observed that the court would consider reasonable facts and evidence prior to issuing such an order.