Former Sri Lanka Army commander found guilty of ‘White Flag’ statement

Nov 18, Colombo: The three-member trial-at-bar of the Colombo High Court that heard the controversial ‘White Flag’ case against the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, Friday (18) found him guilty of the charges and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

The Colombo High Court trial-at-bar comprising judges Deepali Wijesundera, W.M.P.B. Warawewa and M. Zurfick Razeen delivered the verdict.

The former Army Commander was accused of three counts including inciting violence, in an interview given to the English weekly Sunday Leader, alleging that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had ordered to shoot the Tamil Tiger cadres surrendering with white flags during the final stages of the war.

However, the verdict was divided 2 to 1 with judges Wijesundera and Razeen finding him guilty only of the first charge of inciting violence while Justice Warawewa found the former commander not guilty of all three charges. The trial lasted 16 months.

The judges have sentenced the former Army Chief to three years in prison and fined Rs.5,000.

The Police have increased security with hundreds of armed police guarding the complex ahead of the delivery of the verdict and placed additional barricades around the court complex in Hulftsdorp, Colombo.

Fonseka, who contested the presidential elections in January 2010 as the common opposition candidate, is currently serving a 30-month prison term imposed by a court martial last year after finding him guilty of four charges related to alleged irregularities in military procurements during his tenure as Army Chief.

Another court martial earlier delivered an order sentencing the former General for a dishonorable discharge from rank for engaging in politics while being in active service. The retired military chief was stripped of his ranks and medals he earned during his 40-year carrier.

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