Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has conveyed to leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe that the former Army Chief and defeated opposition presidential candidate, General (retired) Sarath Fonseka, will be released if he is proven innocent of the charges levelled against him.
On Friday, Mr. Wickremesinghe had called on Mr. Rajapaksa seeking the General’s immediate release, even as the Supreme Court admitted a petition challenging his detention and posted it for further hearing on February 23.
A report posted on the Department of Information website on Saturday said: “President Mahinda Rajapaksa informed the Opposition Leader that all facilities will be given to General Sarath Fonseka without causing him any inconvenience. [The] President had added that investigations into these allegations will be carried out immediately. General Fonseka will be released if he is proven not guilty of the charges, the President had assured.”
It quoted Mr. Rajapaksa as saying General Fonseka’s detention was an act of maintaining military law and discipline. It was not an act of revenge.
“The opposition requested the President to let someone else other than Mrs. Anoma Fonseka to take meals to Mr. Fonseka. The President said that the Army Commander will take a decision on this matter. He pointed out that Mrs. Fonseka is the most suitable person to take meals to the General. He recalled that Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa had come to visit him similarly, when he had been serving prison terms in the past.”