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Updated: February 12, 2010 22:44 IST

Fonseka’s petition admitted

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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Anoma Fonseka wife of former Army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka gestures as she comes out of the Supreme Court in Colombo on Friday. Photo: AP
AP
Anoma Fonseka wife of former Army chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka gestures as she comes out of the Supreme Court in Colombo on Friday. Photo: AP

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court on Friday admitted a petition challenging the detention of the former Army chief and defeated opposition presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, and posted it for further hearing on February 23.

The petition has been filed by Anoma Fonseka, wife of General (retired) Fonseka, appealing to the court to declare the arrest as illegal and order his immediate release.

The Fundamental Rights petition seeks the right to freedom from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention. The Attorney-General gave an undertaking to the court that General Fonseka would not be transferred from the place of his detention.

General (retired) Fonseka was arrested on Monday, two weeks after he lost the presidential race to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on charges of plotting a coup and sharing information on national security with sections of the opposition.

Earlier in the day, leader of the opposition United National Party and former Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, called on Mr. Rajapaksa seeking the General’s immediate release.

Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy here said the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (GTIP) would fund an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) project to help Sri Lanka develop a national strategy on combating human trafficking, to identify and prosecute trafficking cases, to protect victims and to improve the collection of trafficking data.

The $300,000 programme, which will build on an earlier U.S.-funded IOM counter trafficking project in Sri Lanka, will provide training for law enforcement and government officials, and technical support for the government’s anti-trafficking task force, to help it develop a comprehensive national strategy.

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