Sri Lanka’s ex-army chief in court on new charge

May 12, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s ex-army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka was for the first time hauled before a civilian court Wednesday and accused of inciting violence. Fonseka, who is in military custody and faces separate court martial charges of dabbling in politics while in uniform and corrupt procurements, was brought before a magistrate over his reported comments against the president’s brother.

Police investigators told the court that Fonseka had alleged in a newspaper interview that the president’s younger brother and defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, had ordered the killing of surrendering Tamil rebels last year.

Fonseka was taken before Colombo chief magistrate Champa Rajaratne as a suspect who had “incited unrest” in the country through the interview last year. He says the newspaper misquoted him.

It was Fonseka’s first appearance before a civilian court. However, he has filed several petitions in higher courts challenging his arrest in February, 12 days after he failed to unseat President Mahinda Rajapakse in elections.

Fonseka led the military onslaught which resulted in the annihilation of the separatist Tamil Tiger leadershi