Fonseka loses MP seat appeal as Sri Lankan SC rules court martial legal

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

COLOMBO - Former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka has lost a Supreme Court appeal to retain his parliamentary seat.

Citing the September court martial ruling that found him guilty of corruption in defence deals, the Supreme Court said the decision was legal and constitutional, and therefore, he could no longer be a Member of Parliament (MP), the BBC reports.

Fonseka would reportedly lose his seat and civic rights, including voting rights for six years.

Fonseka and his lawyers had submitted a petition saying that the system of General Courts Martial, which tried him twice last year and found him guilty both times, was illegal.

If the petition had been successful, Fonseka would have been able to return to his seat in parliament. It would also have thrown doubt on his sentences to two-and-a-half years in prison, and to losing his rank and medals, the report said.

The electoral commission will now seek to replace Fonseka with a new MP from the same party.

After losing the presidential election to his one-time ally, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Fonseka was elected to parliament in April 2010.

The former commander also had differences with the President over who should get credit for the 2009 military victory over the Tamil Tigers. (ANI)

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