Will consider releasing Fonseka if plea made by him: Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan leader won`t consider any politically motivated plea for Fonseka.

Colombo: Days after Gen Sarath Fonseka was sent to jail, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he could consider releasing the former Army chief if a plea is made by him or his family.

However, Rajapaksa said he won`t consider any "politically motivated" plea for Fonseka`s release made by political parties.

Fonseka is serving a 30-month jail term imposed by a court martial after the ruling was approved by Rajapaksa in his capacity as the commander in chief of the armed forces of Sri Lanka. He was sent to jail on Thursday last.

"He (Rajapaksa) said he would only consider such a plea if made by Fonseka himself or a member of his family," the Daily Mirror newspaper reported today.

The President said there was a laid down procedure for the granting of a pardon and that procedure had to be followed.

He recalled that when Vijaya Kumaratunga was imprisoned on naxalite charges in the 1980s, a plea for his release was made by his wife, it said.

It may be recalled that after the Presidential Elections in 1982, Kumaratunga, husband of former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga was jailed under the emergency regulations on charges of being associated with naxalites.

Fonseka’s wife Anoma Fonseka had recently said there were no plans to appeal for a presidential pardon as her husband had not committed any offence.

Meanwhile, former prime minister and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said Fonseka`s case should not be equated with convictions for murder, rape etc and needed to be assessed differently.

The UNP chief told reporters that Fonseka`s case should be viewed from a different perspective.