Sri Lanka war hero`s party to appeal conviction

Last Updated: Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 21:00

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s former army Chief
Sarath Fonseka will appeal against a court martial conviction
that stripped him of his rank, pension and prestige, his
political party announced on Sunday.

President Mahinda Rajapakse formally removed Fonseka`s
rank and medals and stopped his pension yesterday, a day after
a court martial found him guilty of engaging in politics while
in uniform.

"We do not accept the court martial process, but we are
going to appeal to a civilian court against this decision,"
said Anura Kumara Dissanayake, legislator and spokesman for
Fonseka`s Democratic National Alliance.

Dissanayake said the government was trying to destroy the
political career of Fonseka, who attained national hero status
as the battlefield architect of the military victory over
Tamil Tiger rebels in May last year.

The former four-star general, who quit the military in
November to become an opposition politician, unsuccessfully
challenged Rajapakse for the presidency in January elections.

Two weeks after his defeat at the polls, he was arrested
and taken into military custody.

"The government wants to erase the memory of what General
Fonseka achieved last year by ending the war," Dissanayake
said. "He will remain in the minds of a grateful nation as a
great hero."

PTI



First Published: Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 21:00

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