Arrest of Sarath Fonseka:
Opposition playing politics
BBC interview dangerous to country’s integrity:
*Forces have right to question:
*Fonseka not denied visits:
Mass Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene addressing a media
conference at the Ministry yesterday morning blamed the Opposition for
trying to politicize the arrest of former Army Commander by the Military
Police on certain allegations relating to violation of Army Rules, under
the Army Act, Clause 57(1).
These allegations include involvement in politics while serving in
the Army, conspiring against the Commander in Chief, Protection of over
1,000 Army deserters and for allegations of corruption in the purchase
of military equipment.
Under the Army Act, they have the right to take such action and the
media in the national interest should enlighten the masses about this
matter without letting the politicians to distort the issue to gain
political mileage over it, he said.
The Minister pointed out that the statement made by Sarath Fonseka to
the BBC, a day before his arrest, was very dangerous to the integrity of
the country at the international level.
In this statement, he has stated that he would definitely reveal
about all who were involved in war crimes and he would not save anyone.
The Minister said that the Security Forces have a right to question
him on these dangerous pronouncements.
Minister Yapa explained that it is totally wrong and misleading to
say that the Government has arrested Fonseka and reports published
saying that Fonseka is being denied visits by outsiders, his family
members and not given his medicine have been proved wrong by visits made
by his wife and some others.
Referring to the allegation made by UNP General Secretary Tissa
Attanayake that Fonseka had been arrested to prevent him signing the
election petition that they plan to submit, Minister Yapa pointed that
the statement shows the lack of procedure by Attanayake and as there are
instances of people contesting election from being imprisoned there is
no obstruction to get Fonseka’s signature when he is in custody.
The Minister said if Attanayake wants, the Government is ready to get
it done for him on his behalf.
Minister Yapa also dispelled the politically motivated statements
being made by certain politicians over the arrest of Fonseka by the
Explaining about the alleged harassment of media personnel and the
alleged disappearance of Lanka-e-News journalist Ekneligoda, the
Minister pointed out that there are over 7,500 journalists in the
country and only a small number of about 20 to 30 persons are making
The Minister said Police investigations are underway on the alleged
disappearance of Ekneligoda and it is difficult to say whether he was
really missing as being alleged or whether he is in self imposed
The Minister explained such things are not new to this country and
said once even an MP from Moneragala area indulged in such a course.
The Minister pointed out certain journalists have made such
allegations to seek comfortable lives in foreign countries and cited the
example of a journalist who set fire to some books and made some minor
damages to his house to seek asylum in a foreign country and is now
living abroad in comfort.
Referring to the forthcoming General Election, Abeywardene explained
that as per the recently concluded Presidential Election results, the
Government is entitled to 131 Parliamentary seats and the Government is
confident that with probable reduction in the votes for UNP and with the
possibility of some persons who voted for Fonseka voting for the
Government in this election the Government will be able to comfortably
get a two third majority. He pointed out that the people should realize
the need to give two thirds majority to the Government to implement
constitutional changes that are of paramount importance for the
development of this country and to change the electoral system that will
help elect representatives who will be responsible for people at each
and every electorate.
The Minister confirmed that almost all pledges made by the President
during the course of the Presidential Election will be implemented and
even attempts will be made to secure the GSP+.
In the event of not being able to secure this facility, alternative
arrangements will be made to give equal concessions to those who may be
affected without endangering employment of those employed in the
The BBC story
Sri Lanka’s former military Commander says
that he is prepared to give evidence in an international
court on war crime charges against Sri Lanka.
General Sarath Fonseka speaking to
journalists in Colombo on Monday said, “I am not going to
save anyone who has committed war crimes”. International
human rights organisations as well as the US State
Department has alleged that the Sri Lankan Government
committed war crimes during the final phase of the war
against the LTTE.
Several human rights organisations have
called to try the Sri Lankan state in international courts
on alleged abuses against civilians and surrendees.
“I am definitely going to reveal what I
know, what I was told and what I heard. Anyone who has
committed war crimes should definitely be brought into
courts,” Gen. (Rtd) Fonseka said. “Those who reveal the
truth are not traitors” he added. Courtesy: BBC