Sri Lanka`s jailed ex-Army chief celebrates birthday in court

Sri Lanka`s jailed ex-Army chief Sarath Fonseka marked his 60th birthday.

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2010, 16:47 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s jailed ex-Army chief Sarath Fonseka marked his 60th birthday by cutting a cake smuggled into the court while attending a hearing, officials and witnesses said.

Birthday celebrations are not allowed inside the high security Welikada prison where he is serving a 30-month sentence of hard labour, but his supporters managed to bring in a cake to court as he turned up for a hearing yesterday.

As he arrived at the Court of Appeal, supporters placed the cake in the corridor where he cut it and shared with his prison guards and others present.

There was no immediate reaction from the government to Fonseka`s cake-cutting in court.

A prison guard and a driver were suspended earlier in the month for allegedly allowing Fonseka to speak to reporters while attending court.

Fonseka faces a plethora of court cases and is also appealing against two courts martial convictions which stripped him of his rank and pension.

The former four-star General, the key military figure who led the armed forces to a remarkable victory over the Tamil Tigers in May last year, fell out with his former commander in chief, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ended up challenging him at the January polls.

Within two weeks of losing the election, Fonseka was arrested and tried by military courts.

He was sentenced to 30 months of hard labour for irregularities in military purchases.

PTI