Monday, February 22, 2010

Former Lanka president slams govt for holding General Fonseka without charges

Former Sri Lankan prime minister and opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has slammed the government for detaining Gen Sarath Fonseka without charges, accusing it of trying to "concoct" evidence against the defeated presidential candidate.

Wickremasinghe, chief of the opposition United National Party, said a losing candidate was not imprisoned in any country, and demanded that his be shifted to a civil court.

"A candidate who has lost the election won't be imprisoned in any country. When Obama won he did not put John Mccain behind bars," he told a gathering here yesterday.

The opposition leader charged that the former military chief was being held without framing any charges against him, and demanded that he be tried in a civil court if at all he has to be tried.

"How can the military law be implemented against a retired military officer. What mistakes has he committed? "Sarath Fonseka is being held without any charges being put forward. He has not been arrested but is being held by the military," he said.

He said according to military law, chargesheet should be presented before a lapse of 24 hours after an arrest but it has not been done in Fonseka's case.

"The attorney general is saying investigations are being carried out. That means they are trying to concoct evidence. What is his evidence?" he asked.

"It is being said that the discovery of foreign currency is a violation of the country's Foreign Currency regulations. If that is the case Fonseka should be produced before a civil court," Wickremasinghe said. The Opposition leader said Fonseka should then be charged for violating foreign currency regulations.

"Military charges should be withdrawn. He (Fonseka) should be brought before a civil court. Why can't it be done," he asked.

Sri Lanka's opposition has come out in support of Fonseka, who was put behind bars after the presidential election that saw Mahinda Rajapaksa winning a second term. The government has claimed that Fonseka had plotted to assassinate Rajapaksa and topple his government.

© Daily News & Analysis

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