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* Protesters call for release of Sri Lanka's ex-military chief
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 10:52 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka opposition party activists held a massive protest rally today calling for the release of Sri Lanka's former Army Commander and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Sarath Fonseka.

Hundreds of demonstrators dressed in black held a protest rally this afternoon outside the Welikada main prison in Colombo to mark the one year anniversary of Fonseka's arrest.

Fonseka's wife Anoma Fonseka has earlier called on all patriotic people to participate in the rally, organized by the People's Movement for Democracy, dressed in black.

Sri Lanka Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, DNA MP Arjuna Ranatunga and Wickramabahu Karunaratna were among the protesters.

Sri Lankan military police arrested the former military chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka on February 8, 2010 for committing military offences.

While in remand, the DNA leader secured a parliamentary seat at the general elections held in April 2010.

Fonseka faced two military tribunals, the first of which charged him for his alleged involvement in political activities while in active service and recommended stripping the former general of his military ranks.

The second tribunal found him guilty of contravention of military procurement procedures and handed over a 30-month prison term, which he currently serves. As a result of the prison term Fonseka has lost his parliamentary seat.

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