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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka ex-military leader to face court martial today
Tue, Mar 16, 2010, 09:55 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's former military leader and defeated presidential candidate General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka's two-day court martial is set to begin today before a three-judge panel at the Navy headquarters.

The retired General is being charged for his alleged participation in political activities while in military and contravention of laid down procedures related to military procurement.

His spokesman, Marxist party parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake recently said that the detained former military commander will not attend his court martial hearing. Instead his lawyers will be present at the trial, he said.

The military brought charges against General Fonseka after recording evidence from 35 witnesses including 22 Army personnel. He was arrested by the military police on February 8.

Fonseka, the leader of the Democratic National Alliance, is a contestant at the upcoming general election. He says his detention is a government ploy to prevent him from contesting the parliamentary elections to be held on April 8.

The Marxist alliance led by him together with his wife Anoma Fonseka has staged protests demanding his immediate release.

The Sri Lankan government says the arrest of former military chief is not a political revenge and has assured the due process in the trial.

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