Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fonseka to be released on Sunday ?

Despite recent reports in the media that Sarath Fonseka will be released tomorrow (May 19) in view of the victory day celebrations, reliably learns that Fonseka will in fact be released on Sunday (May 20).

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP Tiran Alles held several discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the release of Sarath Fonseka while Anoma Fonseka too met with the President earlier this week.

The President had assured both parties that Fonseka would be released unconditionally after confirming to the Hindu newspaper that the country was at a point in which it would be in its interest to release Fonseka.

Furthermore, Presidential Spokesman Bandula Jayasekera stated on Thursday (17) that the President had received Cabinet approval for the release following the President’s meeting with Anoma Fonseka that morning.

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who led the Sri Lankan army to victory against the LTTE, was in detention since February 2010 following his unsuccessful bid at the Presidential election earlier that year in which Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to his second term.

In September 2010, a court martial sentenced him to 30 months imprisonment for corruption related to irregularities in military procurements during his time as army chief. He also lost the parliamentary seat he won in the April 2010 polls.

An earlier court martial also found him guilty of interfering in politics while in uniform and stripped him of his rank and pension.

Fonseka was arrested and convicted by both military and civil courts and stripped off all military ranks as of August 2010 while the US State Department named him a political prisoner in its 2010 Human Rights report.

Sarath Fonseka was then found guilty by a divided decision in the case regarding the ‘White Flag’ statement and sentenced to three years in prison by the Colombo High Court on November 18, 2011.

The verdict was divided 2:1 and was given by the High Court bench headed by Judge Deepali Wijesundara and comprising Judges DMPD Waraweva and Zulfiqar Razin.

Justice Waraweva giving his judgment deliberated that Fonseka was not guilty on all three charges while Justice Wijesundara and Rashim found Fonseka guilty of the first charge and found him not guilty on the second and third charges.

He was accused of inciting violence following an interview given to the Sunday Leader, alleging that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa gave an illegal order not to accommodate any LTTE cadres attempting to surrender with white flags during the closing stages of the war and that troops had shot dead a number of Tamil Tiger separatist leaders when they tried to surrender.

However, Fonseka maintained that that the published comments had misquoted him adding that the journalist Fredrica Janz had distorted a reply that he had given to a question that she had put forward in her own words in order to build this story.

Sarath Fonseka, who was at the time serving his 30-month jail term was sentenced to three years in prison and fined Rs.5,000.
Fonseka appealed the decision while the petition is to be taken up at the Supreme Court.
Sarath Fonseka along with his son-in-law Danuna Tilakaratne and Director of HiCorp Pvt. Ltd. Wellington De Hoedt were also accused of defrauding the Army by purchasing military hardware going beyond the tender procedure.

Sarath Fonseka was acquitted by the Colombo High Court of the charges brought against him in the Hicorp fraud case citing that he could not be sentenced twice for the same offence as the Court Martial had already found him guilty of the charges.

Fonseka continued to serve his three-year sentence amidst mass protests and pressure on the government by the opposition parties and international powers to facilitate the former army commander’s release.

Now it is expected that the President would grant Fonseka a pardon following assurances to the media and parties close to Fonseka that it would be done at the earliest.

Sarath Fonseka was granted conditional bail earlier today (18) by the Colombo High Court in the case of harbouring army deserters during the Presidential election.

The State Attorney informed court that the government does not object to the bail appeal by the former Army Commander, who was then ordered released under a cash bail of Rs. 1 million and two personal bails of Rs. 2.5 million each.

The Colombo High Court also barred Sarath Fonseka from leaving the country however stating that he would be required to seek permission from the court in order to do so.

Most media reports now suggest that Fonseka would be released during the Victory Day celebrations scheduled to be held tomorrow. However it learn t from reliable sources that the release date has been set for Sunday.

source : adaderana

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