Sri Lanka’s former army chief ‘to face three charges’

March 11, 2010 (AFP) – Former Sri Lankan army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka will face three charges in a military court, including “conduct unbecoming an officer,” a source said Thursday. “There will be three charges against him,” said the military source, who declined to be named.

In addition to the “conduct unbecoming” charge, he will also be accused of maintaining contact with opposition politicians while being head of the army and unfairly granting an arms tender to a company run by his son-in-law.

The source made no mention of allegations related to plotting a coup or planning the assassination of President Mahinda Rajapakse — accusations which have been made against Fonseka by some members of the ruling party.

Three major generals have been appointed by army commander Jagath Jayasuriya to hear the charges against Fonseka, 59, who was arrested two weeks after losing the January 26 presidential election to Rajapakse.

Fonseka is being held at a naval detention centre in Colombo since his arrest on February 8.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is the president’s younger brother, has said that Fonseka could be sentenced to five years in prison.