EXCLUSIVE: Is conspiring against elected Govt. democratic, asks Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
August 14, 2010 01:05 pm
Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary told Adaderana this morning (August 14) that he believes President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ratify the verdict of the first Court Martial against Gen. (retired) Sarath Fonseka delivered yesterday.
A military court yesterday convicted Sarath Fonseka, the former Sri Lanka Army chief, of indulging in politics while still being in service. However the President, as the Commander in Chief has to ratify the court decision.
If ratified Gen. Fonseka stands to lose his ranks, medals and other military honours conferred on him. He is still to be tried before a separate military court to assess whether he took part in corrupt deals, and faces charges in the civilian courts as well.
Speaking exclusively to Adaderana this morning, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that according to the charges against Fonseka, the punishment could have been more severe.
This is not political revenge. It goes beyond that. Sarath Fonseka, while being the most senior officer in the army, a member of the country’s security council and as a most senior advisor to the President, has acted against his own Commander in Chief, the country’s military and others by conspiring against the elected government and the President. Such action of a most senior and respected person cannot be condoned, said Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
It has to be reminded that discipline is utmost within the armed forces of any country. If the actions of Fonseka go unpunished, it will set a very bad precedent in the military, said Mr. Rajapaksa.
Once the verdict of the Court Martial is ratified by the President, all ranks, titles, awards etc. conferred on Sarath Fonseka will have to be removed. He will be just an ordinary citizen, the Defence Secretary explained.
Raising a question to those who were voicing their concerns on transparency and democracy, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa asked whether Sarath Fonseka’s actions as a senior military officer, which had come to light now, were reasonable. He also asked those shouting for democracy whether going against one’s own country and conspiring against an elected government and President was indeed democracy.