Sri Lanka Ex-Army Chief Gets 3-Year Sentence

Posted November 18th, 2011 at 4:15 am (UTC-5)
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A Sri Lanka court has sentenced the country's former army chief and opposition leader to three years in prison, after finding him guilty of making false allegations about the defense secretary.

The Sri Lankan High Court ruled Friday that the comments Sarath Fonseka made in a newspaper interview had violated the country's emergency law at the time. Fonseka said the defense secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had ordered the killing of Tamil Tiger rebels in the final stages of the 25-year civil war.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is the brother of Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Fonseka is already serving a 30-month prison sentence for arms procurement offenses, which cost him his parliamentary seat.

Fonseka is widely credited with defeating Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after the 25-year civil war. Both Fonseka and President Rajapaksa were hailed as heroes by Sir Lanka's majority Sinhalese, but the two men soon parted ways over political ideology. Fonseka quit the army and made an unsuccessful run for the country's presidency.