Ranil to meet with the President to seek General Fonseka’s release
A senior UNP member told Lanka News Web that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the release of General Sarath Fonseka.
However, military sources have said the Defence Secretary has decided not to release the General before the general election. The Defence Secretary has told the Singapore Strait Times in an interview that the General would be arrested for five years.
Meets with Nominations Board while in active service
Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera violates security regulations
Legal experts say that the handing over of nominations to the SLFP Nominations Board by Director General of the Civil Defence Force, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera while being in service is a violation of police regulations.
The Civil Defence Force comes under the purview of the Defence Ministry and is governed by the police regulations. A well known legal expert told Lanka News Web that a petition should be file din court seeking Weerasekera’s removal from office for violating police regulations while in service.
The legal expert said the in line with the statement made by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake in Horana on the 9th that everyone was equal before the law, the government was faced with the challenge of removing Weerasekera from active duty.
However, government sources said that a special ceremony is to be held to bid farewell to Weerasekera who is to retire on the 12th.
The UNP Working Committee on the 11th evening decided to contest the general election under the elephant symbol. Before arriving at the decision, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had met with the co-chairmen of the UNF, Mangala Samaraweera, Rauf Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan to inform them of the party’s stance.
It is learnt that the JVP representatives who met with the UNP leadership had agreed to contest in alliance with the UNP after reaching a common agreement. They have agreed to accept Ranil Wickremesinghe as the leader of the alliance and had requested to name two JVP representatives from the Colombo, Gampaha and Kurunegala Districts and one each from the other districts.
General decided to contest under the Eagle if the UNP decides to contest under the Elephant
A coordinating secretary to General Sarath Fonseka told Lanka News Web that if the UNP decides to contest the general election under the elephant symbol with the UNF, the General has decided to contest under the eagle symbol of the Democratic United National Front (DUNF).
He said the DUNF has already decided to appoint General Fonseka as its leader and that several political parties currently in the UNF have already agreed to contest with the new alliance under the General if the UNP decides not to contest under a common symbol.
At least two journalists were arrested and several others were brutally assaulted by the police in two separate incidents while covering anti-government demonstrations on Thursday (11) afternoon. The demonstrations were called by the opposition parties to protest against the arrest of former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka.
In Maharagama, several journalists came under attack when the police baton charged demonstrators and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd who were shouting anti government slogans.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U.S. EMBASSY IN COLOMBO:
U.S. Response to Defense Secretary's Comments
There is no truth to the Sri Lankan Defense Secretary’s claims that the U.S. provided financial support to the opposition candidate in Sri Lanka’s presidential election. As noted in previous U.S. Embassy statements, the United States backed no candidate but strongly supported a free, fair, and credible democratic process. In that spirit, we now urge the Sri Lankan Government to protect the rights of those who supported the opposition or other candidates in the election and to ensure the safety and security of representatives of the press.
The free expression of opinion and peaceful participation in the political process are fundamental democratic rights, which all citizens of Sri Lanka should enjoy.
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
Stop military tribunals -- respect due process -- stop IGP from undermining the rule of law -- ensure credible inquiries into all allegations of human rights abuse
In recent weeks the government of Sri Lanka has engaged in alarming attempts to repress the avenues of the political participation of the opposition and the entire population in general.
Press Release issued by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Reference is made to the interview with Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary carried by Straits Times 11th February and later reprinted by the Daily Mirror online.
We would like to point out that the accusations made against Norway in the interview are not correct. Norway has never and will never interfere with other countries’ elections or in any way try to undermine or oust a democratically elected Government and President.
The Norwegian Ambassador has brought this issues up today with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Fonseka's trial soon, can be jailed for five years: SL Defence Secretary
Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka will face immediate court martial for treason and he can be jailed for up to five years, the country's Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in an interview published Thursday.
Rajapaksa, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also told Singapore's Straits Times that Fonseka had planned to impose military rule and his candidature in the presidential election that he lost was backed by the US and Norway.
The arrest of an opposition leader and a press crackdown threaten the country's hard-earned peace.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's wide election victory last month handed him a unique opportunity to put his country on a peaceful, democratic and prosperous path after 26 years of civil war. He's already throwing it away.
Attack on peaceful protests is violation of freedom of expression
We, five major media organizations in Sri Lanka state that tear gas attacks and dispersing of peaceful protest campaigns in number of cities on 10 February 2010 by the police is a blatant violation of basic right to freedom of expression of our people. We are afraid that this incident reconfirms the fact that in Sri Lanka today space for opposition political activities, which is an essential component of a pluralistic democratic society, is being seriously restricted.
These campaigns were organized by opposition political parties to protest the arrest of defeated presidential candidate General (Rtd.) Sarath Fonseka by military police two days ago.
International special rapporteurs for free expression highlight 10 critical challenges
The four international special rapporteurs on freedom of expression have released their tenth annual Joint Declaration on Ten Key Challenges to Freedom of Expression in the Next Decade. Brought together by ARTICLE 19 and the Centre for Law and Democracy in February 2010, the special rapporteurs have issued a Joint Declaration each year since 1999.
The 2010 Joint Declaration, which reaffirms all the previous declarations, acknowledges important advances made for free expression over the past decade, especially regarding the enormous potential of the Internet as a tool for realising the rights to freedom of expression and information.
General’s supporters attack and chase away Mervyn’s thugs
Mervyn Silva’s thugs who tried to attack the protest organized against General Sarath Fonseka’s arrest at Aluthkade on the 10th were attacked and chased away by the General’s supporters.
The riot squad had to intervene and fire tear gas to save Mervyn’s thugs from getting assaulted.
It is learnt that the protestors had even let the air out of the tires of Mervyn’s vehicle.
The thugs had reportedly been hiding inside the Keselwatte Police to avoid getting attacked by the General’s supporters. The police had also been forced to close down some roads in the vicinity to prevent the thugs from getting attacked.
Several UNP and JVP parliamentarians were at the Supreme Court complex to hand in an FR petition against General Fonseka’s arrest.
Protests against the General’s arrest were organized in several key towns in the country.
It is also reported that black oil had been thrown at President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s pictures and various anti government slogans had been sprayed on walls in Colombo and its suburbs.
A new party by the General
Anoma to lead the party till the General returns
A close confidant of General Sarath Fonseka told Lanka News Web that a new political party would be formed by the General and that two recognized political parties have agreed to appoint him as their leader after amending their policies and organizations structure.
He said that Anome Fonseka is to give leadership to this party until the General who is currently been detained illegally is freed. Former parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunge and several other key political figures are to join this party.
He added that a decision has not been made on whether the General’s party would contest the general election with the same coalition of parties as in the Presidential election or under the UNF or as a separate party.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) is in the process of formulating regulations to be imposed on news websites, it is learnt.
Chinese military intelligence specialists have reportedly been approached to formulate these firewalls. Sources from TRC said several Chinese specialists are to visit the country during the next few weeks for this purpose.
The TRC is to also make it compulsory for all news websites operating in the country to register with the Commission.
I will give leadership to the struggle to release the General – Ranil Wickremesinghe
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Lanka News Web last night (9) that he would give leadership to the struggle to free General Sarath Fonseka as the Opposition Leader. He said that he would meet with all opposition party leaders and civil society leaders to decide on the necessary steps to be taken and organize island wide protest campaigns after retuning to the island.
He said that legal proceedings to free the General and other war heroes being detained illegally have already been instituted.
UNP prepares its nominations list
More in favor of contesting under the elephant symbol
The preparation of the UNP nominations list commenced on the 8th at the party headquarters, Sirikotha, under the patronage of party secretary Tissa Attanayake. Several SLFP (M) Wing organizers contesting under the UNF have also been given posts as organizers.
UNP Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the UNF was looking at getting General Sarath Fonseka in its fold and was also holding discussions with the JVP to garner its support for the Front. However, he said that majority of the UNP members have expressed their desire to contest under the elephant symbol and that a final decision would be arrived at the Working Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
JVP decision on the general election during the weekend
A former JVP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that the party’s central committee was having lengthy discussions these days to decide on whether to contest under the same alliance that was formed during the Presidential election or through a new alliance with General Sarath Fonseka or separately. He said the party would be able to make an official announcement during the weekend.
He added that the JVP could not contest under the UNF since the UNP leadership is adamant to contest under the elephant symbol at the general election and that General Fonseka had also rejected the proposal to contest under the elephant symbol.
New Democratic Front to change its name to United National Front
The New Democratic Front, the party which General Sarath Fonseka contested at the Presidential election, has decided to change its name to the United National Front, party sources said.
Sources said that while the party symbol is to remain the same, the party constitution and the office bearers are to be changed within the next few days and the relevant documents are to be handed over to the Elections Commissioner shortly.
Political supporters clash in streets of Sri Lanka
Government supporters hurled stones at opposition activists protesting the arrest of their defeated presidential candidate in Sri Lanka's capital Wednesday, in scattered street battles that prompted volleys of tear gas from police.
The clashes began outside the country's Supreme Court, where opposition supporters had gathered to protest the arrest of former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who was taken into custody by military police Monday on sedition charges.
The opposition says the detention is illegal and an attempt to harass them ahead of new parliamentary elections scheduled for April 8.
Wife's fears for general imprisoned in Sri Lanka Anoma Fonseka tells Andrew Buncombe she has been kept in the dark about the whereabouts of the defeated candidate
Supporters of the seized Sri Lankan opposition leader Sarath Fonseka have vowed to take to the streets of Colombo today to protest against his arrest and detention at an undisclosed location.
General Fonseka's wife, Anoma, broke down in tears as she revealed how the authorities had still not informed her where her husband was being held, after military police bundled him away on Monday evening. She said she feared for his safety and called on the international community to work to free him.
HUNTING OF PETROLEUM EMPLOYEES IS BEING CONTINUED CHAIRMEN IS SILENT IN FRONT OF CHETHIYAS, THUG ACTIVITIES
K.M. Manoj Wijeyaweera delegate of Petroleum corporation common employees union at Kolonnawa office has been assaulted and grievously injured yesterday (8) at his duty area. President of the freedom employees union at Kolonnawa terminal, Chethiya and his squires have joined directly to this thug attack.
Because of the continued thug threatening occurred after the presidential election, Manoj has reported to duty yesterday (8) and he has been threatened not to report to the duty at the moment he entered the institution. It is reported that this assault has been done later once Manoj has reported to the duty ignoring the threatening.
Government permits Anoma to visit her husband following international pressure
The government permitted General Sarath Fonseka’s wife, Anoma Fonseka, to visit the General at the Navy Headquarters and give him his medicine.
Anoma was given this opportunity following requests made by her from international organizations and the diplomatic community to pressure the government to give her a chance to visit the General and give his medicine.
'General Fonseka’s arrest politically motivated'
- Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka
Opposition presidential candidate and former Sri Lankan Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka, was arrested on Monday (08/02/10) after hundreds of military men who broke into his office in Colombo. According to eyewitnesses, he was carried into a military vehicle parked outside his office and then beaten up.
General Fonseka, who was the main contender to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 26th presidential elections, was subjected to what appears to have been abduction not arrest. Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka believes that the detention of the senior army general by the current regime was clearly politically motivated, rather than dictated by the law of
"My husband was treated like 'an animal' says General Fonseka's wife
The wife of Sri Lankan ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka accused the government on Tuesday of abducting her husband and treating him "like an animal" following his dramatic arrest.
"This is not an arrest. It is an abduction," a tearful Anoma Fonseka said at a press conference at her Colombo home.
Fonseka, who lost his challenge for the presidency in a January 26 election, was arrested Monday night by military police who stormed the offices of the opposition alliance which had backed his candidacy.
Sri Lanka's defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka beaten during arrest
General Sarath Fonseka, the former Sri Lankan military chief and defeated presidential candidate, has been punched and dragged along the ground by army troops who arrested him as he met political allies last night.
His wife was later forced to give a statement to police investigators, who raided her home at midnight, and was questioned until 2am this morning.
A senior government Minister told Lanka News Web that the Defence Secretary has decided to arrest several JVP leaders for allegedly conspiring to topple the government with General Sarath Fonseka.
The Minister said the Defence Secretary has already decided to arrest JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe and JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and has asked the President to ban the JVP if the charges leveled against them were proven.
General Fonseka imprisoned and tortured while being questioned at the Navy Headquarters
Sources from the Navy Headquarters said that General Sarath Fonseka who was arrested last night (8) is being held under strict security n a room at the Navy Headquarters. Sources said several leading military personnel had been torturing and questioning him from morning.
Sources further noted that General Fonseka had received wounds to his chest and right leg when he was being dragged forcibly out of his office and was treated by medical personnel.
DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan who was an eye witness to General Fonseka’s arrest said that he was dragged out of the room by Military Police personnel after tying his hands and legs and attacking him. Ganeshan said that the General resisted and his struggle also resulted in breaking a window in the office room.
Anoma goes to the Red Cross to send General Fonseka his medicine
SLFP (M) Wing Leader Mangala Samaraweera said that General Sarath Fonseka’s wife Anoma Fonseka had requested the help of the ICRC to send some essential medicines to her husband.
Samaraweera explained that following the extensive damage to his lungs due to the suicide attack on him, General Fonseka had to take a daily dosage of medicines as a result. He said that efforts by Anoma Fonseka to send the medicine through security forces personnel have failed.
Everyone needs to get together for democracy regardless of elephant of swan – JVP Leader
JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe said that regardless of whether one is going to contest under the elephant or swan symbol, it is time for all progressive forces to join together to protect democracy and freedom.
The sensitive leader gave my husband a prison cell as token for ending the war – Anoma Fonseka
General Sarath Fonseka’s wife Anoma Fonseka said the sensitive leader, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has abducted her husband and imprisoned him as a token of appreciation for ending the 30 year old war.
Anoma Fonseka made this statement at a media briefing held at their residence in Colpetty. She said that looking at how her husband is being treated it was easy to imagine the plight that would befall the ordinary civilians in the country.
Fonseka struggled when he was dragged out and Military Police officer’s badge fell as a result – Mano Ganeshan
DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan said that General Sarath Fonseka resisted when he was dragged out of the room by Military Police personnel and that his struggle resulted in one of the Military Police officers losing his name badge.
Ganeshan addressing a media briefing organized by joint opposition political leaders said that General Fonseka started to kick when he was being dragged and the name badge of Military Police officer Nilantha Pathmal feel on the ground. He made this comment while showing the fallen name badge to the media.
He said that General Fonseka was not arrested, but abducted.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa it is learnt had returned to the country today (9) after canceling his planned visit to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva following the arrest of Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka.
Meanwhile, it is also learnt that a request made by Mahinda to meet with the heads of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva today has been rejected.
However, the President had returned to the country even after being informed that he could meet with the Commission heads tomorrow.
I am Aparna Fonseka, youngest daughter of General Sarath Fonseka of Sri Lanka. Today, 8 February 2010, I decided to start this blog because of the unfortunate and disgraceful incident that happened to my father. I am tired of watching from the sidelines and reading what people have written without being able to defend. However vile, destructive or poisonous the remarks about him and my family have been, I’ve been listening silently. I’ve stayed silent even after there was an assassination attempt on his life. I’ve been silent when they accused my brother-in-law of being an arms dealer. I’ve been silent when they surrounded our house and put us under arrest. But today,
A PROTEST AGAINST MINISTERS’ INFORMAL APPOINTMENTS
Ceylon school non academic union expresses that 184 appointments of laboratory assistant have been granted informally for the necessity of the government, instead of promoting to the post of laboratory assistant from nearly 2000 of highly experienced laboratory employees who are employed at national schools of the island.
Plan to kill the General by depriving him of his medicine
The Defence Ministry has not responded to a request made by General Sarath Fonseka’s wife, Anoma Fonseka, through the CID to make arrangements to provide the General who is in military custody with the medicine he needs to take every six hours.
The General had been asked to take these medicines by doctors through his life following the internal injuries received by him during a suicide attack on him when he was Army Commander.
Anome Fonseka told Lanka News Web that if the General missed taking the medicine for 18 hours, the doctors have warned of severe consequences.
“This arrest is completely illegal” Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe tells BBC from India
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has commented to BBC’s Sandeshaya from New Delhi that the arrest of Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka was illegal and against the military regulations, Lanka News Web learns.
The Opposition Leader has told Sandeshaya that his visit to India was aimed at informing the political leaders of the anti democratic environment currently prevalent in Sri Lanka and that he has already informed the Indian leaders of the present situation in the country.
General Sarath Fonseka assaulted and arrested by Military Police
Former Army Commander and Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka was assaulted and dragged by his feet before being arrested by the Military Police a short while ago.
General Fonseka was at a discussion with SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem, DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan, JVP Leader Somwansa Amerasinghe and Sunil Handunnetti when the Military Police had barged in and pushed the General on the floor.
Military Spokesperson Major General Prasad Samarasinghe had reportedly said that General Fonseka was arrested for committing military offences.
Media persons may be quizzed over 'coup plot' by Fonseka
Sri Lankan authorities are likely to question several media persons, who were present at a Colombo hotel during defeated opposition presidential candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka's stay there, over the alleged plot by him to stage a coup and assassinate incumbent Mahinada Rajapaksa.
"The purpose is to get information as to what (former army chief) Sarath Fonseka's officials planned by detaining them within the hotel rooms," the government's website quoted defence sources as saying.
Media and civil organizations held a protest in Fort today (8) against the threat on media personnel and suppression of media institutions.
The protest was organized by the Journalists Against Suppression organizations.
A large number media personnel, members from media and civil society organizations participated in the protest.
Free Media Movement (FMM) Secretary Sunil Jayasekera speaking at the protest said the government seems to be heading in a dictatorial Fascist rule by the suppressive action taken against the media just two weeks into the conclusion of the Presidential election.
Mahinda goes to Geneva before Fonseka
Mahinda’s confession to be taken before UN Human Rights Commission
Diplomatic sources said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken measures to present a letter by him before the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva tomorrow (9) explaining the allegations of fraud and corruption that had taken place at the Presidential election.
The President it is learnt has visited Geneva under the guise of responding to comments on war crimes made by General Sarath Fonseka.
Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and Attorney General Mohan Peiris have left the island today for Geneva to hand over the President’s letter.
PB calls for BoI Chairman Dhammika Perera’s removal
Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera has requested the President to remove Dhammika Perera from the post of Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman, sources from the Presidential Secretariat said. The Treasury Secretary has informed the President that Dhammika Perera had attacked him and the government through several paid journalists during the Presidential election period.
Dhammika Perera had also not responded positively to a request made by Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa for Rs. 500 million for the President’s election campaign.
Sources from Temple Trees said that Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa has proposed to the President to appoint former Borella organizer Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra as a Colombo District organizer and in-charge of part of the Borella electorate after the governing party lost the electorate at the Presidential election.
UNP leaders to meet on the 11th to decide if it will be the elephant or swan
The UNP Working Committee is to meet on Thursday (11) to decide on whether the party should contest under the elephant or swan symbol. Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who flew to India yesterday is scheduled to return to the country on Wednesday.
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told Lanka News Web that although a majority of the UNP leaders believed that the party should contest under the elephant symbol, there was space to decide on the symbol if the JVP and General Sarath Fonseka agreed to the basic proposals presented by the UNP.
UNP candidates to give affidavits not to cross over if elected to parliament
Several UNP professionals have proposed to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to get affidavits and letters of resignation from UNP candidates at the general election that they would not cross over after being elected to parliament through the UNP.
They have called on the Opposition Leader to pay special attention to this matter as there was a possibility of the President trying to entice UNP parliamentarians after the election by offering them various perks and privileges like he has done in the past.
IFJ Backs Sri Lankan Journalists’ Protests Against Suppression
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) extends its solidarity to Sri Lanka’s five main organisations of journalists as they begin a campaign of protests to draw attention to the new wave of media suppression since the country’s presidential election on January 26.
The Free Media Movement (FMM), the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions (FMETU) and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association (SLWJA) – all IFJ affiliates – are participating in a public rally in Colombo scheduled for noon today. Also involved are the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum and the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance.
THUG ATTACK TO MEDIA PUBLISHER OF PETROLEUM COORPERATION TRADE UNION ALLIANCE
Thug attacks and political revenge, launched by the Sri Lanka freedom employees union after the presidential election, against the employees and trade union leaders who bear opposition political view have not been discontinued so far and the latest incidence was reported today morning.
Sources from the Police Headquarters said that orders have been received from high ranking public officials to increase VIP security in the next few days.
Sources also said that a discussion is to be held between the officials of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) and high ranking Defence Ministry officials on identifying the VIPs who would need additional security and the regulations connected with it.
The EPDP led by Minister Douglas Devananda has decided to contest the parliamentary elections separately, it is learnt.
The Minister’s Media Secretary Nelson Edirisinghe responding to a question raised by the Ravaya newspaper said the Minister had decided to contest the general election separately as the governing party candidate backed by the EPDP during the Presidential election was rejected by the people in the North. He added that the Minister initially decided to resign from his portfolio, but later changed his mind following appeals made by the public.
Elections Commissioner rejects UNF registration form
The Elections Commissioner has not accepted the registration form of the United National Front (UNF), which is led by the UNP and 10 other political parties, on Friday (5).
The Elections Commissioner had informed UNF Secretary Weragoda that he did not have the powers to accept the registration form according to the new regulations passed by parliament under the Elections Act.
The UNF would have to contest the general election either under the UNP or any other registered political party.
Five media organizations condemn attacks on MTV journalists
In a joint statement, five media organizations in Sri Lanka have condemned the recent attacks on two journalists attached to MTV Television Network. In two separate incidents last week, journalists Rizwi Mahroof and Shri Ranga have been assaulted by mobs backed by the local politicians close to the government.
The statement signed by Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU), Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) and Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), has pointed out "that police inability or unwillingness to investigate crimes against media and journalists has become one of the reasons for increased violence against journalist in Sri Lanka."
It was good to hear Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa point out in his Independence Day speech on Thursday that the country “cannot be developed with harassment, gross punishments or by the gun.” But the sentence that followed that—“Discipline is not revenge”—gives cause for concern. Rajapaksa’s speech marked the 62nd anniversary of the country’s independence from Britain. It was delivered in Kandy, the heartland of the president’s electoral base.
Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa left on Saturday for Moscow, where he will sign a $300 million (192 million pound) loan to buy military equipment from Russia, despite an end to his country's quarter-century civil war.
Sri Lanka defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May in a final offensive that prompted allegations of human rights abuses from the international community.
Co-chairman of the UNF, Mangala Samaraweera has been appointed by the UNF to discuss and arrive at an agreement with General Sarath Fonseka to contest the general election under a common alliance, it is learnt.
Sources said Samaraweera who is currently overseas is to return to the island immediately to hold a discussion with the General on Monday.
The discussion between the UNF leaders and the General ended in a deadlock.
Discussion between the General and UNF leaders ends in a deadlock
A Coordinating Secretary to General Sarath Fonseka said the discussions between the UNF leaders and the General held on Thursday (4) to arrive at an agreement about contesting the general election had ended without arriving at a final decision.
The discussion that had taken place from 7 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. was attended by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Co-chairmen of the UNF Karu Jayasruiya, Mano Ganeshan and Raif Hakeem and UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake. The General’s Private Secretary Dr. Senaka de Silva had also attended the meeting.
Can’t go for elections without elephant symbol – Sajith’s group
Sources said that UNP parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa has informed the party leadership that several parliamentarians and organizers, including him would not contest the general election if the elephant symbol was taken away.
He had said Vajira Abeywardena, Thalatha Atukorale and Ranjtih Madduma Bandara were strongly of the view that the UNPers should contest under the elephant symbol.
He had further noted that the party should not go into any alliance with the JVP, but could arrive at an agreement with General Sarath Fonseka.
Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma has requested the President to appoint Renuka Balasuriya as the Chairman of the National Film Corporation and the President has given a positive response to the request, sources from Temple Trees said.
A popular children’s film producer, Renuka Balasuriya and her husband Somaratne Dissanayake played an active role in the President’s election campaign.
Sources said that apart from Renuka Balasuriya, well known artistes like Jackson Anthony, Sriyantha Mendia, Ravindra Randeniya and Malini Fonseka are also tipped to be appointed as chairmen of various corporations.
Deputy Elections Commissioner to probe into ballot papers found in Ratnapura
The Elections Commissioner has assigned a Deputy Elections Commissioner to probe into the bundle of 64 ballot papers found in a garbage dump behind the Ratnapura Technical College.
The bundle was found by a supporter of UNP parliamentarian Thalatha Atukorale and when bundles of ballot papers were being burnt behind the Technical College. The UNP leaders showed the ballot papers to the Elections Commissioner.
A battle for supremacy at the next general election has reportedly erupted between Namal Rajapaksa, Mervyn Silva and Malini Fonseka, who are all trying to contest the elections from the Kelaniya electorate.
The President it is learnt has decided to offer Mervyn Silva a parliamentary seat through the nationals list.
Sources from Temple Trees said the President would brief Mervyn Silva of this decision after returning from his Russian tour.
Jackson Anthony is to be appointed as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), it is learnt.
The President has reportedly arrived at this decision after Jackson Anthony had informed him that he did not wish to contest at the general election and that he did not have the necessary financial resources to campaign.
However, Jackson had said he would accept any other position in the government offered to him.
The new appointment it is learnt is to be made next week.
EU nations have decided to suspend Sri Lanka's preferential trade status because of the island's human rights record and will make the formal move later this month, officials said Friday.
"European ambassadors have taken the decision. The EU Commission's investigation showed Sri Lanka has not demonstrated that it has taken the steps that would allow it to retain or regain the GSP+ status," a European diplomat said.
International Community Must Condemn Attacks on Media in Sri Lanka
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the international community to raise concerns at the highest levels regarding the rapid rise in hazards facing journalists and media workers in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s presidential election.
“The evidence of the past two weeks clearly contradicts a purported statement by Sri Lanka’s senior Minister for Information and the Media, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, that there is no threat to the media in Sri Lanka,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
The IFJ is extremely worried for the safety of well-known political commentator Prageeth Eknaligoda, who has been reported missing since late January 24.
“The Truth” of the Armored Coup against the Government!
Lanka News Web today exclusively reports the “Inside Story” of the so called “Military Coup against the Government”, which is in the front lines of state newspapers these days. The true story is being slowly but steadily revealed through various informants within the military establishment itself.
The Security Council for a considerable period of time has been assessing the situation in a defeat at the Presidential Elections. The modus operandi to keep power within Rajapakses has been discussed at all these meetings and the final meeting of the Security Council had taken place in the evening on 24th January 2010 just two days prior to the election.
A senior UNP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that the documents to register the United National Front (UNF), which is headed by the UNP and 10 other registered political parties, were handed over to the Elections Commissioner.
The Secretary of the UNF is Weragoda and its leader is UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Karu Jayasuriya, Mangala Samaraweera, Mano Ganeshan and Rauf Hakeem are co-chairmen of the UNF.
The UNP has already decided to contest the next general election under the UNF banner.
UNP leaders to meet the General today to get him to join the UNF
UNF leaders are to meet with Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka in the evening today to explore the possibility of him joining the Front.
UNF Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Co-chairmen Karu Jayasuriya, Rauf Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan are to meet with General Fonseka. UNF’s Mangala Samaraweera would not be able to attend the meeting as he has gone overseas last night.
The UNF leaders it is learnt are to request General Fonseka to accept the post of UNF Deputy Leader and contest the next general election by taking the leadership of either the Gampaha, Kurunegala or Galle District.
A group of Army personnel had imprisoned Election Commissioner’s wife and daughter at Water’s Edge on election day
A senior UNP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that information has been received that Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanyake’s wife and daughter had been taken to Water’s Edge and kept there by force by a group of Army personnel on election night.
He also said that the Election Commissioner’s daughter had been attacked by the Army personnel when she refused to leave the house.
The parliamentarian said that the incident had taken place around 12.30 a.m. on election night and they had been released at 5 p.m. on the 27th.
The solution to the ethnic issue is to give power to a Tamil leader acceptable to the Sinhalese – Dayan Jayathileka
A pro-Rajapaksa theoretician, Dayan Jayathileka in an article published in the Tarns Currents website has presented an interesting proposal to solve the ethnic issue.
According to him, the ethnic issue could be solved by giving power to a Tamil leader acceptable to the Sinhalese people. It is not difficult to think of that Tamil leader. Dayan proposes that the power of the North and East be handed over to Douglas Devananda who lost during the Presidential election. Paying a glowing tribute to Rajapaksa and his victory at the Presidential election, Dayan has kept silent about Douglas losing all areas in the North for the President except for Kayts.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has informed the CID of a plan by certain sections of the opposition to print and paste posters on the President calling him, the “Racket King” (Magadi Raja) and to keep a close watch on it.
The new name, Magadi Raja, is said to be made according to the President’s initials MR.
The Defence Secretary has also told the CID that the poster is being printed by a group of forces personnel angered by the posters against Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka.
Welikada OIC Neville Silva and Welikada ASP Nishantha Soysa have been transferred with immediate effect.
The two police officers are yet to receive in writing the reason for their transfer. Police sources said the transfers have been made due to the unbiased inquiry held by them into the bomb attack on SLFP (M) Wing National Organizer Tiran Alles’ residence and for speaking with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, General Sarath Fonseka and former President Chandrika Kumaratunge when they arrived at Alles’ residence.
The state media continued to say that the bomb attack was planned and carried out to place the government in difficulty. An opposition parliamentarian said that if that were the case, the government should encourage the
Batticaloa cannot be won without killing Sampanthan, Ariyanenthran and Dr. Thomas
Says Presidential Coordinator to the East Iniyabarathi
A vice president of the SLFP, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman had called a meeting at the Batticaloa Rest House to analyze the reasons behind the defeat of the governing party at the Presidential election.
The meeting was a joint discussion with the participation of the SLFP and the TMVP. However, TMVP Leader and Eastern Province Chief Minister Pillayan and his supporters have walked out of the meeting protesting against the behavior of Karuna Amman and his supporters.
The President has requested chairmen of all statutory corporations boards to resign as he has decided to re-appoint only those who had played an active role in the Presidential election campaign. A senior official at the Presidential Secretariat told Lanka News Web that about 40 persons who are currently serving as chairmen in state institutions may lose their jobs.
The official said that Namal Rajapaksa has already prepared a list of names of persons who could be appointed to head these government institutions. This list also includes the names of 25 Nil Balakaya members.
Elections Commissioner under pressure to call the Presidential election free and fair
Sources from the Elections Commissioner’s Department said Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has been pressurized by the President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge to call a news conference to claim the Presidential election results have not been altered.
A request made by the Commissioner to go overseas for a short holiday was granted by the President’s Secretary only after he had agreed to hold a press conference. The Commissioner had been granted a short period of leave for four days.
Defence Ministry issues special order on censoring defence news
Director General of the Media Center for National Security Lakshman Hulugalle has on Tuesday (2) issued a special directive preventing forces chiefs and any other forces personnel from giving comments, interviews to the media and for the media to receive any information regarding promotions or transfers in the security forces without approval.
The statement dated February 1st states that only the military spokesperson and the police spokesperson are entitled to give comments and details to the media.
Hulugalle’s statement also says that written approval from the Defence Secretary was required by media institutions to have interviews with forces personnel and such requests made from the Defence Secretary should first be sent to him.
Dayaseeli back at Lankadeepa following a Presidential directive
The Sunday Lankadeepa management has decided to re-employ journalist Dayaseeli Liyanage, who resigned after being accused of writing a false news story, following a Presidential directive.
Liyanage decided to call it quits following the controversy that surrounded a story written by her alleging a secret pact between Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka and TNA leader R. Sampanthan. It was later revealed that she had written the false news story following a request made by Sunday Lankadeepa Editor Ariyananda Dombagahawatte.
DO THE POST ELECTION VIOLENCE ACTIVITIES DEPICT THE BRIGT FUTURE OF MR
Releasing a media notice the president of National Trade Union Centre comrade Lal Kantha states that violence is being released on the opposition party members, by utilizing state media, resources and several thug gangs as the government previously acted, even though 6 days has passed from the date of presidential election.
KANDY SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED IGNORING EXPECTATIONS OF CHILDREN
General Secretary of Lanka Teachers Service Union, Comrade Mahinda Jayasinha disclosed that provincial council of central province has decided to close number of schools including some main schools in Kandy division for two weeks from 28th January to 15th of February for the independent day celebration and ‘Dayata Kirula’ exhibition.
Jayalath Jayawardena reveals how Sarath Gunaratne rigged the poll in Negombo
UNP parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has revealed how the government ministers created the necessary environment to rig the Presidential poll by chasing away UNP members and organizers from the counting centers on election day.
Dr. Jayawardena says that after experiencing first hand the government terror unleashed at the counting centers he had lodged a complaint at the police post at the Teacher Training College in Paththala Gedara in the early hours of the morning.
JVP sources said the party leadership was under pressure not to leave the opposition alliance and to continue to fight for democracy together with the joint opposition alliance formed during the Presidential election.
The JVP at the outset of the Presidential election said that although party worked together with the UNF at the Presidential election, it would contest separately at the general election. The party in this backdrop has already commenced discussions with several political parties and organizations to form a separate alliance to contest the general election.
Jackson to contest from Gampaha District and Somaratne to enter parliament through national list
Sources from the SLFP Headquarters said the President has agreed to allow Jackson Anthony contest the general election from the Gampaha District and to include Somaratne Dissanayake’s name in the national list.
Sources said Fisheries Minister Felix Perera has already objected to the decision to field Jackson Anthony from the Gampaha District at the next general election.
Tobacco Company in a quandary over enhanced revenue without increase in sales
The Ceylon Tobacco Company’s explanation that the increase in its revenue was not due to an increase in cigarette sales has reportedly backfired.
The Company it is said has been faced with this predicament when trying to respond to a query by the government to show how it earned revenue without increasing its cigarette sales.
The Ceylon Tobacco Company, which is an affiliate of the British American Tobacco Company, has recorded an increase in revenue in 2009 in comparison to 2008 even under the government’s “Mathata Thitha” programme. The Company has recorded a 49% increase in revenue.
The Company has earned a revenue of Rs. 4.1 billion.
IDP children protest in Vavuniya requesting for schools
Children and parents in IDP camps including displaced persons living outside IDP camps held a protest yesterday (1) outside the Additional Provincial Education Director’s office in Vavuniya requesting for a school for displaced children.
Education authorities earlier decided to stop the evening classes held for children in IDP camps and to allocate Gamini Maha Vidyalaya in Vavuniya to the displaced children from February 1.
The protest was held yesterday due to the inability of education authorities to make the necessary arrangements at Gamini Maha Vidyalaya for the displaced children to commence their education work from the 1st as decided earlier.
Sri Lankan lawyers in Australia take General Sarath Fonseka’s problems before the International Human Right Commission
Sri Lankan lawyers residing in Australia are reportedly planning to take the harassment meted out against General Sarath Fonseka by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa before the International Human Rights Commission.
A lawyer from the group told Lanka News Web that a copy of the complaint has been handed over to the head of the international tribunal Hisashi Oveda.
14 Senior Army Officers are sent on Compulsory Leave
- Charges : Supporting a conspiracy against the Government
Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has ordered to send senior Army Officers on compulsory leave with effect from yesterday (01st February 2010). The charge against these officers is aiding a conspiracy against the Government.
There are five officers in the rank of Major General, Five Brigadiers, Two Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels and two Captains among the group of officers who are sent on Compulsory Leave. This is the first time in the history of Sri Lankan Army, such a large number of officers are sent home in one go.
Sri Lanka: End post election clampdown on dissent - Amnesty International
Amnesty International today called on the government of Sri Lanka to immediately end its crackdown on journalists, political activists and human rights defenders after last week’s presidential election.
Opposition supporters and journalists have been arrested, several prominent newspaper editors have received death threats and trade unionists and opposition supporters have been harassed following the election.
Marked Ballot Papers found in a Garbage Dump in Ratnapura
Lanka News Web exclusively report the finding of a large heap of marked ballot papers favouring General Sarath Fonseka in a garbage dump near the Technical College in Ratnapura. UNP Member of Parliament Thalatha Athukorala reported this incident to our web site a few hours ago. She has found a large number of marked ballot papers being set on fire at this dump.
The best find in the catch is that more than 60% of the ballot papers taken into the MP’s hands are marked in favour of General Sarath Fonseka. All these ballot papers bear the signature and the official stamp of the officials who conducted the Presidential Election on the 26th January. It was also noted that the election officials have
CJA CONDEMNS TREATMENT OF JOURNALISTS IN SRI LANKA
The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) is deeply concerned at the disappearance of Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and appalled that Sri Lanka's 'democratic' government continues to persecute journalists for committing the 'sin' of criticizing the ruling party.
Ranil to be Prime Ministerial candidate and General to become Deputy Leader of UNF
A senior UNP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that the UNF leadership has decided to field UNF Leader and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the alliance at the general election and General Sarath Fonseka is to be appointed as the Deputy Leader of the UNF.
The parliamentarian said that although the General was asked in an unofficial level to join the UNP and accept the post of National Organizer, General Fonseka had expressed his desire to join the UNF with the party he contested the Presidential election, the New Democratic Front.
Massive rally on the 3rd against the fraudulent Presidential election
The joint opposition has decided to hold a massive rally on the 3rd at 3 p.m. at Hyde Park in Colombo against the allegedly rigged Presidential election. The rally is being organized by opposition parties and members who supported Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka.
A UNP parliamentarian said the rallies would also be held island wide as well. He said the Opposition Leader was also in the process of garnering the support of other political parties and organizations supportive of safeguarding democracy in the country for the planned protest campaign.
JVP to form new alliance to contest the general election
JVP sources said the party was looking at forming a new political alliance headed by the JVP to contest the next general election and the party’s central committee is scheduled to meet shortly to make a final decision on the matter.
However, no decision has been made on the symbol of the alliance, which is expected to include many multi ethnic parties and intellectuals.
UNF appoints people’s commission to inquire into Basil’s poll rigging
UNP sources said the Opposition Leader has decided to appoint a people’s commission to gather information about the alleged alteration of Presidential election results with the intervention of Basil Rajapaksa and to take the necessary legal action with the findings.
Sources said that most information related to the rigging of the polls has already been received. It is also being alleged that the help of several Indian IT and communications experts had also been sought to rig the polls.
The UNP is planning to inquire from the Elections Commissioner as to why the IT Department of the Colombo University was not used to enter election results into computers and why it was handed over to another company.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa won a second term at the Presidential Election of Janumary 26 with an unexpectedly big majority although this election result has been called into question by the main opposition candidate, General Sarath Fonseka. The election results telecast by the state media as they stand demonstrate a schism in the thinking and expectations of the ethnic minorities and ethnic majority populations.
President Rajapaksa obtained a smaller proportion of votes in the North, East and central hills where Tamils and Muslims predominate and also in the capital city of Colombo where the proportion of Tamils and Muslims is high.
Sri Lanka’s Malays want more political space on the island
In Sri Lanka’s ethnic cocoon, the minority Malay population is searching for more political space to voice their socio-economic rights.
An estimated 50,000 Malays, mostly descending from the Indonesian archipelago and southern Malaysia, are the minorities among the minorities in the country’s 20 million population.
In postwar Sri Lanka, the Malays are worried their social-political mobility would be stifled without proper political representation in the island’s multi-ethnic make-up, as a bulk are still in the economically-backward segment.
Wimal and Nil Balakaya preparing to control the opposition
Wimal Weerawansa it is learnt has been assigned to justify the operation launched by the governing party to control the opposition after the presidential election.
Wimal has been given full access to state media to carry out this task.
The operation is said to have been launched due to the inability of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters to control opposition supporters due to a directive issued by the IGP preventing political processions from taking place for a period of one week before the election.
The operation it is also learnt is also targeting the general election.
The British Tamil Diaspora overwhelmingly endorsed the principle of Tamil Eelam in two days of polling this weekend. With over 64,000 votes cast, over 99% voted in favour of an independent and separate state of Tamil Eelam.
British Tamils were asked if they endorsed the principles contained in the Vadukkoddai Resolution that was first put to a democratic mandate in 1977. In that historic election the Tamil polity in Sri Lanka voted overwhelmingly for an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam in the traditional Tamil homelands.
Election result is the biggest ever unpatriotic crime – Bahu
Common Left Candidate Vickramabahu Karunaratne called the declared result of the presidential election in Sri Lanka as the biggest ever betrayal of the country.
Addressing a media briefing in Colombo on Sunday, Dr. Vickramabahu said that the result has been manipulated using sophisticated computer technology to show the world that the Sinhala electorate is totally racist and against any agreement, while the Tamils are not prepared to work alongside the Sinhalese. He said that the spread of variance in the declared result appears unnatural.
Take immediate action to stop post election violence – Tissa Attanayake
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has requested the President to stop any attempt to harass and prevent employees attached to government departments, corporations and state media institutions from being engaged in their work as part of the post election violence that is being carried out in the country unabated.
In the letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Attanayake has alleged that pro opposition employees of government institutions such as Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Ceylon Electricity Board, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority were to be prevented from reporting for work and were to be harassed in various ways when they report to work on the 1st after the weekend.
The 18 strong security contingent provided to UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya has been reduced to four and his back up vehicles have also been withdrawn with immediate effect.
A source from the Opposition Leader’s office said that Jayasuriya played a key role in the opposition candidate’s election campaign by also expressing views to local and foreign media and has therefore earned the wrath of the governing party.
Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who extended his support to Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka is reportedly facing a threat to his security due to several anonymous death threats received by him over the telephone and several unidentified persons roaming around his residence.
It is also learnt that several government ministers have requested the former Chief Justice to go overseas for protection since the government has launched a campaign to destroy opposition activists with the help of various paramilitary groups.
Brigadier Manawadu who handled operation “Trans Asia” was punished by the General
It was one Brigadier Manawadu who commanded the battalion of troops that surrounded the Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel, formerly the Trans Asia, where opposition political leaders stayed on the night of the election.
Brigadier Manawadu was punished by then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka for giving wrong orders to his troops in Mullaitivu during the Eelam War IV which resulted in the death of 117 soldiers. He was transferred to the Army Headquarters in Colombo as punishment by Fonseka. He had since then harbored anger towards Fonseka. The Defence Secretary, who was aware of this situation, had used the
Protecting Democracy Post-Election: An end to political violence and revenge
A series of recent events connected to the presidential election last week give rise to extremely serious concerns about the state of democracy in Sri Lanka today. The campaign period, the election and its aftermath were marred by unprecedented disregard for the Constitution and the law, resulting in not only violence and large-scale abuse of public resources, but also in setting a number of disquieting precedents with regard to the respect for constitutional authority and democratic values.