Sunday, September 19, 2010
Former army chief and opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka was today convicted of fraud by a military court. Sarath Fonseka has already been dishonourably discharged following an earlier court martial. He has described the prosecutions as a vendetta against his daring to challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential election earlier this year.
Critics say the Sri Lankan government is systematically persecuting its rivals as it consolidates power following victory over the ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels last year.
Spokesman Lakshman Hulugalla said the sentence would be announced after the president's approval.
Fonseka is accused of bypassing military procedures when buying equipment and involving his son-in-law.
The verdict came weeks after Fonseka was stripped of his rank, pension, medals and other military honours after another court martial convicted him of involvement in politics while in service.
Once allies, Rajapaksa and Fonseka fell out after the civil war ended. The general quit the army after accusing Rajapaksa of sidelining him, suspecting a military coup. Their relationship further deteriorated after Fonseka challenged Rajapaksa in the election, which he then lost.
This is not good; Sri Lanka is spiraling down into dictatorship and no one seems to care.