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S.Lanka’s Fonseka to be convicted next week: party

[AFP, Friday, 16 April 2010 10:37 No Comment]

2s1P85S4w Sri Lanka’s detained ex-army chief and opposition leader Sarath Fonseka is likely to be convicted early next week to prevent him appearing in parliament, his party said on Friday.

Fonseka, who won a seat in parliament while in custody, is in custody in the capital Colombo and faces a court martial.

He is charged with entering politics while in uniform and making irregular army procurements, in a process that began on March 16 and will continue on Monday.

"We strongly suspect that a court martial called for Monday will convict him before Thursday and block him from attending parliament," spokesman for Fonseka’s Democratic National Alliance, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said.

The party had requested that Fonseka attend parliament as his first outing from his detention cell since he was arrested on February 8, just 12 days after he lost to incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse at presidential elections.

"We maintain that the courts martial against General Fonseka are illegal," Dissanayake said, adding that the military judges were disciplined by Fonseka when he was the army commander and would therefore be biased against him.

Dissanayake said they believed the government would try to prevent Fonseka using the floor of the legislature to speak out against his incarceration and an alleged political vendetta against him.

Fonseka’s wife, Anoma, told reporters in Colombo Friday that the former army general’s health had deteriorated while being confined to a poorly-ventilated room at the naval headquarters in Colombo.

Fonseka, who led the military to victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels last year, denies all the charges against him and says they are part of a smear campaign to keep him out of politics.

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