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Concerns over Fonseka’s arrest

9 February 2010 02:50 am - 29     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Concerns were raised by the international community today over the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka with the United States fearing it would worsen divisions as the island recovers from war and the UN appealing to both sides to show restraint.

"We are following the situation closely and we have concerns that any action be in accord with Sri Lankan law," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told AFP.

"There is a tremendous need for the government of Sri Lanka to work to overcome the fissures that exist within its society," he said.

"It has to be very cautious that any actions it takes are designed to heal the split within Sri Lankan society, not to exacerbate it," he said.

Troops on Monday arrested Sarath Fonseka, a former army chief who lost presidential elections two weeks ago.

"Whatever the government does has implications for how democratic institutions are perceived in the future," Crowley said.

"It's an unusual action to take right on the heels of an election," he said of the arrest.

Another official earlier told AFP that US diplomats had been working behind the scenes to encourage President Mahinda Rajapakse's government to be cautious in its treatment of the opposition.

Fonseka holds US residency, although officials said it did not affect their position toward him.

Meanwhile UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his appeal to all parties in Sri Lanka and their supporters to show restraint and refrain from violence after the reported arrest of the defeated opposition presidential candidate.

Responding to questions from journalists, a spokesperson for Mr. Ban noted that “the peaceful conduct of the first post-conflict national election and its aftermath is of the highest importance for long term peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.”

The Secretary-General is also urging Sri Lankans to adhere to the electoral laws and to avoid provocative acts, not only in the election period, but also during the post-election stage.

Amnesty International meanwhile said the arrest of retired General Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s former Chief of Army Staff and opposition political candidate in Sri Lanka’s recently held Presidential Election, escalates post-election repression.

"Sarath Fonseka's arrest continues the Rajapaksa government's post election crackdown on political opposition,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“After the military defeat of the LTTE and a major election victory, President Rajapaksa should steer the country toward a better human rights record. Instead, we're seeing less and less tolerance for criticism.”

The timing of the arrest is troubling given reports that Sarath Fonseka had announced earlier in the day that he was prepared to testify before an international court on war crimes charges against the Sri Lanka government, Amnesty International added.

“Allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka should be subject to an independent international investigation,” said Sam Zarifi.

“Sarath Fonseka was commander of the armed forces during a period when Sri Lanka’s army was accused of violating humanitarian law, including firing heavy weaponry into an area packed with civilians. Fonseka faces credible allegations of war crimes and should also be subject to investigation and accountability,” Amnesty International added.  (Daily Mirror online)

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  Comments - 29

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  • Tuesday, 09 February 2010 03:48 AM

    May God grant far sightedness to leaders of our mother land.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 03:54 AM

    It is easier said than done. Issuing statements won't do Mr. Ban Ki-Moon.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 05:40 AM

    Now some fools wil say,international comunity have no rights to do so,

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 05:41 AM

    International community is a joke!We are not bothered.Long live King Mahinda!

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 07:41 PM

    I can only laugh at Ban Ki Moon's comments.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:06 AM

    You are only known to release text messages sans ACTION?

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:07 AM

    Who cares ?

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:13 AM

    mind your own business.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:15 AM

    I am sure the UN has no time to concentrate on this matter cos they have to work on war crimes by the forces in Afganistan and Iraq.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:17 AM

    I can not understand why UN is so interested on minor issues like this in a small country like ours

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:19 AM

    Didn't they have similar 'concerns' when Fonseka was planning a blood shed here.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 06:01 AM

    What you gonna do! No foreign intervention is needed is what is said in our Democratic Republic Island?????

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 08:45 PM

    Whom the Gods want to destroy, they first make them mad!

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:44 PM

    MR Koon you are not fit for post . your the caused for tamils were killed in northeast..MR koon are supporting to the INDIAN government.. the INdian head is not a democratic prime minister. he is blind in politics. his memery is failed.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:31 AM

    No GSP +. It should be GSP - .

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:47 PM

    MR Koon please open the case against the srilanka govt. and call the MR Rajapaska brothers MR fonsaka, SOME ARMY officers. to UN international court.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:32 AM

    This government needs a few lessons on good governance.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:40 AM

    Sam Zarifi, Are in this world or in a Safari? How about human rights records in Afganistan, Iraq or Isrial?

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:43 AM

    Sri Lankans, Think before you vote next time.. Do you want to give 2/3 majority to this government..?

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 12:17 PM

    I am a UN staff - I know about UN better - UN will take right side , betrayers should be punished accordingly .

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:44 AM

    We know that the UN has a big mouth, but does it have teeth?

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:45 AM

    International Community, Please help us remove our arrogant king...

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 04:49 AM

    Mr. Crowley, are you interested in him as your agent?

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 11:48 PM

    This is the most UNFIT man to be in the UN. He survives in the UN, by releasing USELESS reports like these. 'Useless Nerds headed by Monkey Moon'!

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 05:01 AM

    Have no idea of whom to trust !

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 12:37 PM

    He did wrong things. So what the fuss. USA,UN please mind your business.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 12:49 PM

    YOU ARE NO BODY TO US.

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 05:20 AM

    Prabhakaran seems to be having the last laugh!

    Tuesday, 09 February 2010 05:20 AM

    Your concern always come too late after the sun has set.


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