Plea to release Fonseka

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General (retired) Sarath Fonseka.
General (retired) Sarath Fonseka.

B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Parliamentarians of the main opposition parties in Sri Lanka have petitioned to President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking immediate release of the former Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka, from military detention.

A petition signed by 50 MPs of the main opposition party United National Party (UNP) and Democratic Alliance (DNA) including opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has contended that the retired General is being held illegally.

General (retired) Fonseka, who unsuccessfully contested as the common opposition consensus candidate in the January presidential election against Mr. Rajapaksa, has been under detention since February on charges of conspiring to destabilise the government and stage a coup. He is being tried by two separate courts martial.

At a media conference here, DNA General Secretary Vijitha Herath said the General had been detained in military custody in an inhumane manner and there was no justification for his detention.

In a related development, the General filed a writ application challenging the second court martial against him on the ground that he was not subjected to Military Law and could not be Court Martialled.

He had challenged the first court martial as well. However, the government has contested the petition and asserted that as one who voluntarily retired as Chief of Defence Staff he was very much subject to military law.



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