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President rules out pardon

18 March 2010 06:16 am - 27     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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President Mahinda Rajapakse has ruled out an early pardon for his election rival General Sarath Fonseka and dismissed the former army chief as a "fool" who was unprepared for politics.

In an interview with Singapore's Straits Times published Thursday, Rajapakse also spelled out his economic ambitions for post-war Sri Lanka and said it would take time to eliminate the vestiges of the Tamil Tiger rebellion.

"He is a fool. On 16th November he was sitting right here and I asked him if he was interested in contesting and he said, 'No, sir... I haven't made up my mind.' Even on the day of his last visit he didn't tell me," Rajapakse said.

"So I advised him. I told him that politics is not the army. In the army, when you have an order they follow. In politics you give an order and they react in a different way," he added.

Fonseka, who led government forces to victory last year against the Tamil Tiger separatist rebellion, was arrested by the military on February 8, two weeks after he lost the presidential election.

He is now facing a court martial on charges of engaging in politics while he was still commander of the army, and of making irregular procurements.

Rajapakse said he could have prevented Fonseka from running against him by delaying the general's retirement until after the deadline for filing candidacies. "But I let him contest. I didn't want people to say I was frightened."

He ruled out an early pardon for his rival.

"But if I pardon him what about army discipline? What about the court martials of other officers? What can I do? This is the British law. They gave it to India and us," Rajapakse said.

"Fonseka himself put thousands of soldiers under court martial. At one time the figure was 8,500. I shouted at him and I had to release them."

On allegations that Fonseka was plotting a coup, Rajapakse said: "There was something going on. I cannot discuss all details as inquiries and legal proceedings are on."

Rajapakse also alleged Fonseka "placed cash of 700,000 dollars in a bank after the elections," referring to last month's incident in which police were reported to have found cash in safe-deposit lockers held by Fonseka's son-in-law.

"And that was only half the money and only because the locker wasn't big enough to take more," Rajapakse told the Straits Times.

Rajapakse also said that, after ending more than three decades of civil war, he hoped to double Sri Lankans' per capital income to 4,000 dollars during his second term and turn the island nation into an aviation and shipping hub.

Asked if the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was gone for good, he replied: "No. There are sleeping cadres and there are interested parties, especially outside Sri Lanka."

"Just because the leaders were eliminated, it is not over." (AFP)

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  Comments - 27

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  • Thursday, 18 March 2010 05:44 PM

    From the language and the tone used, it is clear who the fool is ...

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 05:47 PM

    Breeding, counts a lot guys! What else can you expect from this lot ...

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 06:01 PM

    I cry for you, Sri Lanka!

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 06:37 PM

    BY THIS STATEMENT, MR. PRESIDENT, YOU ARE SHOWING YOUR 'COLOURS.'

    Friday, 19 March 2010 05:39 AM

    SF needs a padon only if he has done something wrong. Up to now, no one has been abl to prove it. I'm sure SF would prefer to spend time in jail than be pardoned by someone like MR.

    Friday, 19 March 2010 05:46 AM

    Mr President don't be disheartened that he's better than you. and don't ever give up. You have all the hallmarks of beging a better fool than SF will ever be!

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 08:19 PM

    What 'colours'?

    Friday, 19 March 2010 05:49 AM

    In deed SF is greatest Fool of Foos that this country has ever witnessed.
    4 million people did not vote for SF.
    In fact those votes are UNP votes.
    Let us see how many SF and JVP together will get?
    If SF comes without JVP, it will be even lower.
    Damn good lessons for anyone who thinks too much about self.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 08:45 PM

    The poor war hero's future is so bad. Let us pray for him ...

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:09 PM

    who robed sf votes ?

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:13 PM

    Brilliant Mr Prsident. Your every sencence shows your class your morale and your autocracy. And your expecting a 2/3. anything canhappen in Srilanka and you may get it.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:18 PM

    OBVIOUSLY WE KNOW WHO IS FOOL NOW !!! FROM THE LANGUAGE

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:20 PM

    We all know who won the Presidential Election..... This is lagughing stock....
    Shame....

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:32 PM

    this is Rajapaksha for u!! bugger must be thinking he is dam big now to talk like this in another country

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:37 PM

    If you pardon him of this illegal allegations, you will earn more respect or else, you get only hate and anger.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:39 PM

    You must be a better fool. Its you who promoted SF, offered top defense position and a political future there after until he refused to play your tune.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 02:07 PM

    Great! Only Mahinda Rajapasa has the courage to call a 'fool' a fool!! MR is a real son of the island nation of Sri Lanka..from the blood of the Lion!

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 03:12 PM

    MR is basically saying that unless one is willing to play dirty tricks and cheat the public, he is "unprepared for politics".

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 03:21 PM

    What an insult to 4 Million plus Sri Lankans..!!

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 03:43 PM

    ahh,hhh forgotten when your derly beloved called some... "katu kana hiwala","Uguduwa", and so on, remember?????

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 06:32 AM

    Who is fooling whom? If SF is a fool, how could he win the war?

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 06:36 AM

    Don't wash your dirty cloths in public! Didn't expect this kind of language from a country president!

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 04:21 PM

    It's party time not pardon time in Sinking lanka.
    Please join your Japanese diplomat ,start stealing things from "terrible trees" residence.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 04:22 PM

    Please do understand SF is a political fool, not the militery fool,also MR is the great politician we got for ever , He knows how to drive, We are with you MR, suba anagatahayak

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 04:54 PM

    Yes, to be pardon one should have committed a crime or wrong deed. In SF's case he has been simply held and kept to take the Revenge of contesting in the Presidential Election.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 05:02 PM

    the srilankan is far away from democracy but the politicians are killing the future younger generation by the chauvinist and diabolical

    Thursday, 18 March 2010 05:08 PM

    Salute to Roy and Menik, Well said


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