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Fonseka’s objections overruled by Lankan court martial panel

Last Updated: Monday, May 24, 2010 - 22:57

Colombo: In what is considered a set back
to detained former Sri Lankan Army chief Sarath Fonseka, the
court martial enquiring into charges of contravention of
military procurement procedures on Monday overruled preliminary
objections filed by the general’s lawyers.

"The second court martial cited an Indian court
judgement and said preliminary objections should have been
filed by Fonseka?s counsel within six months (of being
accused) but was not done," lawyers of the former top general

Citing an Indian judgement, the court martial
overruled the plea of Fonseka, saying preliminary objections
has not been filed within six months after the accusations
were made against him.

The court martial recalled that Sri Lankan Army Act
also had a provision that made it mandatory to file
preliminary objections within six months, the counsel said.

59-year-old Fonseka, who won parliamentary elections
from the Colombo district and is heading the Democratic
National Alliance, was also present during the hearing.

The next hearing has been fixed for June 3.
The former top general quit the military before an
unsuccessful bid to unseat President Mahinda Rajapakse from
the presidency in the January 26 elections.

Fonseka, who fell out with the President soon after
the military victory over the Tamil Tigers last May, has been
accused of violating military norms while procuring arms
during the last phase of the LTTE war while heading the Army.

Last week, during a press meet in Parliament complex,
Fonseka recalled he was made a hero after the LTTE victory.

"Last year around this time I was the main national
hero, but today I am only a political prisoner and I think
that is the privilege of a person who loves his country, to
end up in jail once in a way, Fonseka had said.

During the last hearing of the two courts martial on
May 5, the general had stated that he was not medically fit
and refused to appear before the panel.

His complaint of sickness prompted a medical
specialist and a medical officer to examine him. The officers
after examination maintained that Fonseka was not physically
unfit to appear before the court martial.

"Though General Fonseka was trying to evade Wednesday
(May (5) afternoon?s second court martial on grounds of
ill-health, his defence counsel, after advising their client
however managed to bring him back to the court martial for
hearing," the army had said in a statement.


First Published: Monday, May 24, 2010 - 22:57
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