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Ex-army chief to face Sri Lanka court martial

[AFP, Tuesday, 9 February 2010 09:33 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka will face a court martial for "military offences", an official said Tuesday.

Fonseka, who was arrested by military police at his campaign office on Monday night, has been moved to an undisclosed military establishment ahead of court martial proceedings, the military official said.

"He will face a court martial even though he is not a serving officer," said the official, who declined to be named. "The military law applies up to six months from the date of retirement of any officer."

Fonseka was taken into custody "in connection with certain fraudulent acts and other military offences committed by him", the defence ministry said in a brief statement posted on its website.

Fonseka, who lost to President Mahinda Rajapakse in the January 26 election, was arrested hours after he vowed to give evidence at any international probe into the final stages of fighting against Tamil Tiger rebels last year.

The government has resisted international calls for an investigation amid charges that a senior defence official ordered the killing in cold blood of surrendering rebel leaders. Related article: Sri Lanka under fire over opponent’s arrest

Fonseka, 59, the only four-star general in the army, quit in November following differences with President Rajapakse over who should receive credit for the Tigers’ defeat in May 2009.

Police detectives searched his home, shortly after troops stormed Fonseka’s office and arrested him, a family member said.

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