Sri Lanka to probe detained ex-Army chief's written interview

08:55, March 22, 2010      

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The Sri Lankan government said on Sunday that it would investigate how former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka's handwritten letter to the British Channel 4 TV was smuggled out of the Naval base where he is being imprisoned under tight security.

Lakshaman Hulugalla, director general of the Media Center for National Security, told reporters that Fonseka was given the best facilities and the accusations he had made in his letter was false.

In his letter to the Channel 4 Fonseka claimed he was imprisoned on false basis.

"None of the accusations are true," Fonseka said, reiterating that he would never give up politics.

Fonseka said in the letter that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was jealous of him as he got more votes than him in the January polls.

"Although he rigged the votes he knows that I can challenge him, " he wrote.

He also said his detention was illegal and his life was at stake.

This was the first media interview given by Fonseka who faced two separate court-martials last week based on charges of engaging in politics and impropriety in military procurement while in uniform.

He was arrested on Feb. 8 after he lost presidential polls on Jan. 26 to the incumbent President Rajapaksa.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told the media that arresting Fonseka was not illegal and it was done under the Army Act of 1949.

"His arrest is done well within the law of the country. He is accommodated with all facilities and his statement that living conditions were bad can not be acceptable," Bogollagama said, blaming the Channel 4 for continuing partial and subjective report on events related to Sri Lanka.

Refuting the allegations made by Fonseka in his letter, government spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma said Fonseka was trying to internationalize domestic issues.

"By secretly sending a letter out Fonseka has proved his disloyalty to the country," Alahapperuma said.

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