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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