SL court orders stripping Fonseka off rank, medals

A court martial has convicted ex-Army chief Fonseka of dabbling in politics.

Colombo: A court martial convicted Sri Lanka`s former Army chief Sarath Fonseka on Friday of dabbling in politics and stripped him of his rank and medals, a senior military source said.

"The guilty verdict was read out to General Fonseka at the court martial a short while ago," the military source said. "The President as commander-in-chief must now ratify the decision."

Fonseka`s hearing before the three-member tribunal began five months ago.

A separate court martial is still hearing charges that he engaged in corrupt deals.

Fonseka, 59, was hailed as a national hero for the stunning defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels in May last year after 37 years of bloody ethnic war.

But he fell out with President Mahinda Rajapakse over who should take credit for the victory.

He unsuccessfully challenged Rajapakse for the presidency in January elections and two weeks later was arrested and brought before a court martial.

Despite being in military custody, he managed to win a seat in Parliament in April.

Bureau Report

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