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  • Former Lankan army chief Fonseka stripped off his rank, medals

    Published on August 14, 2010

    General Sarath Fonseka was on Saturday stripped off his rank, medals and pension after President Mahinda Rajapaksa ratified the verdict of his conviction by a court martial, a sentence which was termed as a “unacceptable and a humorous joke” by the former Sri Lankan Army chief.

    The court martial had found Fonseka guilty of dabbling in politics while heading the country’s military last year.

    “The President in his capacity of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces has confirmed the findings and the punishment handed down by the first court martial,” a military official said.

    By the decree signed by Rajapaksa, Fonseka will lose his right to wear rank, medals he has won in his 40 year long career in the Army, as well as his pension.

    Fonseka was pronounced guilty by a three-member military court of trying to secure place in a political party while in active service.

    In his first comment on his dishonourable discharge the ex-general said, “it was a joke”, a online daily quoted him as saying.

    In comments forwarded through his wife Anoma, the only four star general of the island nation said, the verdict was handed down by a lower ranking military officials, which was not the practices in the military.

    “It is unacceptable and a humorous joke,” Fonseka was quoted as saying by his wife.

    His Democratic National Alliance party MP Anura Kumara Dassanayaka said, his organisation did not accept the ruling as it was handed out when non of the defence lawyers were present.

    Although Friday’s military court ruling did not hand out any prison term for the former General, Fonseka, according to officials, will continue to remain in prison.

    He is also being tried by another court martial for corruption in defence deals. If he is convicted in this case he faces a jail term ranging from three months to five years.

    The 59-year-old General was pronounced guilty on Friday by the military court, which began deliberations five months back.

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