Sri Lanka ex-army chief’s trial to resume after assembly opens

Chandi Dharmaratne

April 20, 2010 (AFP) – The court martial of Sri Lanka’s former army chief Sarath Fonseka was on Tuesday adjourned until after the opening of the country’s new parliament, in which he won a seat this month, officials said. The three-judge military court postponed the case until May 4 after a brief hearing on Tuesday, an army official who declined to be named told AFP.

Parliament will open on Thursday, with Fonseka having the right to take up a seat for the capital district of Colombo. He ran in the April 8 parliamentary polls while in military custody.

Official sources said there was no legal reason to stop Fonseka attending parliament as he has not been convicted of any offence.

But he is still in detention and his party has expressed fears that he may be prevented from taking his seat.

Fonseka last year led the military to final victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels but later fell out with President Mahinda Rajapakse and unsuccessfully tried to unseat him in a presidential election in January.

He was arrested 12 days later.

He faces two sets of charges — corrupt military procurements and engaging in politics while in uniform. The four-star general denies all allegations and says th