Fonseka found guilty
The first Court Martial today found General (Ret.) Sarath Fonseka guilty and sentenced him for a dishonorable discharge from rank pending approval of the President, military officials said
The defence counsels of General Fonseka were not present at the proceedings of the first Court Martial this week, which examined cases relating to General Sarath Fonseka's alleged involvement in political work while in active service.
Fonseka convicted by Sri Lanka court martial
A court martial has found the former Sri Lankan armed forces chief, General Sarath Fonseka, guilty of engaging in politics while on active service.
Gen Fonseka would be stripped of his rank and medals once the government has ratified the decision, officials said.
He has been detained by the authorities since shortly after January's presidential election, when he failed to oust President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The general and his supporters say the charges are politically motivated.
Gen Fonseka led the army in its victory last year against the Tamil Tigers and was hailed as a war hero by the majority Sinhalese community for bringing an end to 26 years of civil war.
He still faces a second court martial on alleged corrupt deals while in the army.
On Friday, officials said the general had been found guilty by a three-member panel and sentenced to a dishonourable discharge, pending the approval of President Rajapaksa as commander-in-chief.
"When an officer is cashiered, he loses the rank and all the awards and honours received as a military officer," the Sri Lankan presidential secretariat said in a statement.
One of Gen Fonseka's lawyer, Sunil Watagala, told the BBC's Charles Haviland that the case has been heard in the absence of the defence team during a court vacation.
Mr Watagala said it was irregular for a trial to be held now - but the court martial had rejected the defence proposal that it be held next week.
An aide to General Fonseka, Tiran Alles, described as "totally unacceptable" the holding of the trial during this period.
A few months after the Tamil Tigers' defeat, Gen Fonseka was promoted from army commander to chief of the defence staff by Mr Rajapaksa.
The two men clashed over who should take credit for the war, however, and Gen Fonseka is said to have seen this as an attempt to sideline him.
In November, he shocked many by announcing his retirement. Two weeks later, he declared his intention to run for the presidency.
Mr Rajapaksa beat him soundly to win a second term. Opposition parties claimed that the vote was unfair.
On 8 February, Gen Fonseka was arrested and taken into military custody. The government said he would be tried for "military offences".
It was later announced that he would face two separate courts martial for undertaking political activities before resigning from the army and for granting corrupt arms procurement contracts while in command.
He was then told he faced civilian trials for allegedly inciting unrest by quoting reports that accused the defence secretary of war crimes, and for recruiting army deserters to work on his election campaign.
He has been allowed to leave jail under military escort to attend parliament since April, when he was elected an MP for the opposition Democratic National Alliance (DNA). His parliamentary status will not be affected by the sentence.
Meanwhile, a court in the southern city of Galle has remanded supporters and two parliamentarians from the DNA until 16 August.
Parliamentarians Vijitha Herath and Ajith Kumara and the group are accused of assaulting the police after a rally demanding the release of Gen Fonseka on Thursday.
Police used tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd.
President confirms sentence on General Sarath Fonseka
General Sarath Fonseka is to be cashiered from SL Army
ImageThe convening officer of the Court Martial – 1, HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Confirming Authority on Saturday (14) confirmed the accused, General G.S.C. Fonseka be cashiered from the Sri Lanka Army as recommended by the tribunal that probed the accused’s involvement in politics on three separate charges.
In accordance with provisions in the Army Act under Section (124), the accused was charged on one count and under Section (102) on two counts;
1. Traitorous / Disloyal Word
2. Neglect to obey garrison or other orders (two counts)
The tribunal comprises Major General H.L Weerathunga, (President), Major General A.L.R Wijethunga and Major General D.R.A.B Jayathilaka. Rear Admiral W.W.J.S Fernando serves as Judge Advocate for both Court Martial - 1 and Court Martial - 2. Prosecution led evidence of four witnesses including Minister Jonston Fernando, Mr Gamini Abeyrathna, Parliamentarian Luxman Seneviratne and Major General A.W.J.C De Silva. Mr Rienzie Arsacularatne was the Defence Counsel for General Sarath
The Court Martial - 1 probing charges against General Sarath Fonseka under three separate charges commenced its sittings for the first time on 16th March 2010, in accordance with provisions in the Army Act after it was appointed by HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 11th March 2010 as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on recommendations of the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.
General G.S.C Fonseka joined the Sri Lanka Army on 5th February 1970 and received commissions as a 2nd Lieutenant on 1st June 1971 in the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment. Months after HE the President was elected, he was appointed the Commander of the Army on 6th December 2005. He was promoted to the Rank of a General on 18th May 2009 immediately after the conclusion of the war for peace. On 14th July 2009, he was appointed to the post of Chief of Defence Staff and he retired from the service on 14th November 2009.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 August 2010 )
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Sunday, August 15, 2010
Fonseka found guilty