Sri Lanka ex army chief gets luxury jail treatment: president

NEW DELHI, February 20, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president says arrested ex-army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka is getting “five-star” treatment in custody, it was reported Saturday. Fonseka, whose detention came two weeks after being beaten in presidential elections in late January by President Mahinda Rajapakse, is being held by the military pending court-martial proceedings on unspecified charges.

Rajapakse reiterated allegations in an interview with India’s The Hindu newspaper that Fonseka had been working to divide the army and “engaging himself in activities prosecutable under military law.”

The country’s defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is the president’s younger brother, has said Fonseka was plotting a coup — a charge rejected by the ex-army chief.

Fonseka, whose arrest sparked outrage at home and abroad, is getting “five-star treatment…. in a luxury flat,” said Rajapakse.

Fonseka won over 40 percent of the popular vote compared to almost 60 percent for Rajapakse in the election that many had expected to be a close fight.

Fonseka was the battlefield architect of the government’s victory over Tamil Tiger rebels last May, which end