Former Sri Lanka army chief Fonseka convicted of engaging in politics while on duty

[JURIST] A Sri Lanka court martial on Friday found former army chief Sarath Fonseka [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] guilty of engaging in politics while on active duty. Sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, Fonseka was accused of trying to secure a place in a political party [Al Jazeera report] before he quit his military position. Fonseka will be stripped of his rank and medals [BBC report] once the government ratifies the court martial decision. Fonseka, who is credited with bringing an end to a 26 year civil war, was arrested shortly after his defeat in the January 2010 presidential election amid his claims that the vote was unfair.

Fonseka is also fighting charges in the High Court of Sri Lanka for allegedly provoking violence and bringing disrepute to the government [JURIST report] in relation to statements made to the Sunday Leader [media website] newspaper. Fonseka suggested that the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa [BBC profile] ordered the killing of surrendering rebel leaders during the Sri Lankan civil war [JURIST news archive]. In April, Fonseka's trials were postponed [JURIST report] to allow the Court of Appeals of Sri Lanka [official website] to examine the legality of the court-martials.

 

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