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Activists attack Fonseka verdict
'Judicial reform needed' after top general jailed for three yearsVen. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero addressing the gathering to end political violence
- ucanews.com reporters, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- November 21, 2011
General Sarath Fonseka, who is already serving a 30-month term for irregularities in military procurement, was jailed for having ‚Äúspread disaffection‚ÄĚ by backing, in a newspaper interview, allegations that the defense minister ordered the shooting of Tamil Tiger rebels who were trying to surrender.
The secretary to the defense minister was Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the president's brother.
Following the court case, a meeting of activists including religious leaders, journalists and lawyers, said the trial was politically motivated and called for judicial reform.
‚ÄúThere is no transparency in the judicial system today and people should call for the independence of the judiciary,‚ÄĚ said Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, a leading Buddhist monk.
‚ÄúWe urge the authorities to respect the judiciary,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúI saw people rushing out of the court and expressing their anguish and anger at the judiciary. It was the first time in my 24-year career as a lawyer,‚ÄĚ said J.C. Weliamuna, former executive director of Transparency International.
Fonseka, who says he was quoted out of context, refused to accept this verdict, saying the conviction was a political one aimed at keeping him out of politics.
The main opposition party said the verdict was a clear indication that law, order and democracy did not prevail in the country.
Groups decry website ‚Äėcensorship‚Äô
Sri Lankan religious leaders want Sarath Fonseka‚Äôs release
Bishops appeal for Fonseka‚Äôs release