Fonseka`s court martial to resume after new Par inauguration

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 18:59

Colombo: Detained Sri Lankan ex-army chief
Sarath Fonseka`s court martial on charges of indulging in
illegal defence deals was on Tuesday adjourned until after the
April 22 inauguration of new Parliament, where he may be
allowed to take oath as an MP of his opposition DNA alliance.

After a brief hearing, the proceedings of the court
martial were postponed to May 4, the army said.
Prior to its next hearing, the court martial is to
receive written submissions from both defence and prosecution
by April 30, it said

The written submissions are to be received by Rear
Admiral W W J S Fernando who serves as Judge Advocate, the
army said.

The three-member court martial panel, which is probing
four charges against Fonseka regarding military procurements
during his tenure under the section `disgraceful conduct` in
the Army Act, comprises Major Generals Milinda Peiris, S W L
Daulagala and M Hathurusinghe.

Fonseka is facing another court martial as well on
charges of indulging in politics while in uniform.

Today`s hearing came a day after President Mahinda
Rajapaksa said that there was no obstacle for Fonseka, who
heads the Marxists JVP-dominated opposition Democratic
National Alliance (DNA), to take oath in new Parliament as a
member, the `Daily Mirror` reported.
The President made the remarks at his official residence
during a meeting with main opposition UNP leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe, the newspaper quoted unnamed sources as
saying.

Wickremesinghe told Rajapaksa that Fonseka, who is now
under army detention, should be given the opportunity to take
oath, it said.

The President said that though Fonseka, who was arrested
on February 8, would be allowed to go to Parliament on its
opening day, he would have to remain in army custody till the
ongoing inquiries against him were over, the report said.

Fonseka was among the five DNA candidates who emerged
victorious in the April 8 Parliamentary polls, the first
post-LTTE era general elections in the country in which
Rajapaksa`s ruling UPFA returned to power with 117 seats while
Wickremesinghe`s party secured 46 in the 225-member House.

Objecting to the court martial against Fonseka, the
former top General`s lawyer Rienzie Arsecularatne yesterday
said the post of Army Commander should not be subjected to the
Military Law. He argued that it was unlawful to try Fonseka
before a court martial.

Fonseka had resigned as the Commander of Army on July 14,
2009 and a gazette notification was issued in this regard, the
counsel said.

Later on July 15, Fonseka was appointed as the Chief of
Defence Staff (CDS), a post which does not come under the Army
Act.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 18:59

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