When former Army Commander General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka was informed by the military court on Friday that he had been found guilty of engaging in political work while in active service; his reaction was to reject the findings of the tribunal.
“Three Major Generals and one Rear Admiral cannot convict a General under the law. It has never happened anywhere in the world and it cannot happen here either,” were his words as the first Court Martial probing charges against him concluded with a guilty verdict.
It did not come as a surprise to either General Fonseka or his family members who had resigned themselves to such a conclusion since the day the tribunal began its work in mid-March. “My husband was expecting this verdict and so were our two daughters and I. It is a one sided inquiry and a one sided judgment,” Anoma Fonseka told the Sunday Times.
She had met General Fonseka a short while earlier when she had taken his dinner to the Navy Headquarters in Colombo where he is being held. “Despite the guilty verdict, he is in high sprits.
owever he did not expect the verdict to come so soon because his defence counsel are on leave due to court vacation. But he always knew the court martial inquiry would go against him,” she said.
Counsel for General Fonseka had informed the military court that they would be on leave from August 9 to 13 as courts were on vacation but the tribunal continued its sittings last week and wound up by Friday.
“My husband was given a telephone and asked to consult his lawyers on Friday morning before the verdict was announced. He had spoken to them but they had already asked for a recess which had been disregarded by the military court,” Mrs.Fonseka said.
During the course of the interview, Mrs. Fonseka received several calls including one from her daughter in the U.S.A. to get details of the military court’s ruling.
“They can withdraw his rank and remove his stars but the people remember the service he has done for this country. With or without the rank of “General” and with or without the four stars, people will continue to support him,” she said.
An article in a particular Sinhala newspaper had caught the attention of General Fonseka as the news of his sentence sank in. It was one advising him on how to get out of the quagmire he is in, but not one that he will ever choose to comply with.
“Neither my husband nor I will appeal to the President to rescind the sentence of the court. The worst is far from over for us but one day we will be vindicated,” she said.