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Central & South Asia
Fonseka named in new Sri Lanka case
Defeated opposition candidate accused of employing army deserters in run-up to vote.
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2010 07:10 GMT
Fonseka, an opposition member of parliament, is in military custody facing two courts martial [AFP]

Sri Lankan police have filed a new case against Sarath Fonseka, the former army chief and defeated presidential candidate, for allegedly employing military deserters, according to his political party.

Fonseka, who is also now an opposition member of parliament, is accused of employing 10 army deserters in the run-up to the January presidential poll he contested unsuccessfully against Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president.

He was named as an accused in a criminal court hearing on Monday and formal charges are expected when the court reconvenes on July 26.

If convicted, Fonseka faces a possible 20-year prison sentence.

Vijitha Herath, an opposition legislator who is part of Fonseka's Democratic National Alliance coalition party, said: "This is a political vendetta against a war hero."

Fonseka is currently in military custody, facing two courts martial for allegedly dabbling in politics while in uniform and illegally awarding contracts to a company where his son-in-law had an interest.

The government pressed 21 new charges against him on Monday in connection with the irregular contracts case.

Fonseka led the Sri Lankan army to a spectacular victory against the separatist Tamil Tigers in May last year, ending the island's 37-year ethnic conflict.

But he fell out with Rajapaksa afterwards over who should take credit for the military success.

Source:
Agencies
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