SL appeal court allows resumption of Fonseka`s court martial
Last Updated: Friday, May 21, 2010, 19:09
  
Colombo: Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal on Friday allowed authorities to resume the court martial against former Army chief Sarath Fonseka on charges of indulging in politics while in uniform, nearly three weeks after suspending its proceedings.

The court martial, which was suspended by the appeal court on May 3, was permitted to resume its sittings, lawyers said.

The Court of Appeal had suspended the court martial hearing against Fonseka until today so that a decision could be made on the validity of the legal proceedings against detained former army chief.

The court martial was appointed to look into charges against Fonseka of engaging in politics while he was still the Chief of Defence Staff.

The next hearing of the appeal court has been fixed for June 14, while the court martial will resume its proceedings on June 1.

The Court of Appeal had issued an interim order operative until today restraining the Army Commander from proceeding with the court martial against Fonseka.

Fonseka is also facing another court martial on charges of contravention of military procurement procedures when he was the Army chief.

"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, an MP from the opposition DNA which he also heads, told reporters in Parliament complex yesterday.

Fonseka had won April 8 parliamentary elections from the Colombo District constituency.

During the last hearing of second court martial on May 5, Fonseka had stated that he was medically not fit to appear before the panel. Following which, a medical specialist and a medical officer had examined him.

The medical officers, after examining Fonseka, had maintained that the former General was not physically unfit to appear before the court martial.

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

The second Court Martial was adjourned to meet on May 24.

PTI


First Published: Friday, May 21, 2010, 19:09


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