Monday, March 08, 2010

Sri Lanka: General Fonseka on hunger strike

Sri Lanka's detained opposition leader has begun a hunger strike after being barred from using a telephone, his party said Sunday.

Sarath Fonseka, the former army chief, was arrested a month ago after he lost a January presidential election to incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Officials have said he will face a court martial for various alleged offenses from before he gave up his army command last year, including conspiracy to overthrow the government and receiving kickbacks on arms deals.

He is detained in a naval complex in Colombo. Only his wife, lawyer and doctors are allowed to visit him.

Fonseka's office said in a statement Sunday that a court had permitted him to use phones brought by his wife.

But during her last visit Saturday, the army told her that the right to use phones had been withdrawn, the statement said. Fonseka has started fasting until he is given access to phones again, it said.

Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe said the right to use a phone was a concession allowed by army commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, not by a court.

Fonseka and Rajapaksa were hailed as heroes by most Sri Lankans for their role last year in defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels, ending a 25-year separatist war, but the two leaders subsequently fell out.

Fonseka's supporters claim his arrest was revenge for daring to challenge Rajapaksa in the election.

© Associated Press

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

© 2009 - 2014 Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  © Blogger template 'Fly Away' by 2008

Back to TOP