NFF sources said its leader Wimal Weerawansa has been assigned by the government to form a special investigative unit called the JVP Bureau to closely monitor the actions of the JVP.
This is the first time a governing political party has formed a bureau to investigate in to the goings on in the JVP. In an earlier occasion, the CID formed a Che Guevara Bureau during the late 60s when Rohana Wijeweera was in the process of forming the JVP.
Sources said Weerawansa was in the process of getting on board several JVP supporters and members who had left the party in the last few years.
Weerawansa’s close confidantes say the he is engage din an operation to slam his former colleagues in the hope of securing a powerful position in the next government. It is learnt that a JVP leader who has threatened to reveal the self confessions handed in by Weerawansa before his defection from the party, is one of Weerawansa’s key targets in the operation.
SLMC and DPF to contest separately if unable to arrive at an agreement
SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem and DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan have expressed the likelihood of contesting the election separately if the joint opposition cannot contest the general election under a common symbol, party sources said.
Operation to get Gotabhaya appointed as Prime Minister launched
Sources from Temple Trees said that most members of the Rajapaksa family have requested the President to appoint Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to parliament from the national list and that the Defence Secretary has given his consent to the proposal.
Sources said Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa played a key role in the operation to get Gotabhaya into parliament and the propaganda work on the matter has been handed over to Dilith Jayaweera from the Triad advertising agency.
A former JVP parliamentarian told Lanka News Web that if the Opposition Leader does not agree to contest the next general election under a common symbol during a special meeting today evening, the JVP has decided to contest the election in alliance with General Sarath Fonseka under the trophy symbol and that former test cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunge has also agreed to join the alliance.
He said that in the event the uNP does not agree to contest under a common symbol, discussions have already been held for the alliance to contest under the trophy symbol of the Democratic National Alliance by fielding General Fonseka from the Colombo District and Arjuna Ranatunge from the Gampaha District.
President appoints Competent Authority to Lankadeepa, Divaina and Lakbima
The President after assuming the Media portfolio has appointed the Director of the Presidential Media Unit, Mahinda Illepruma as the unofficial Competent Authority to oversee the functions of the Lankadeepa, Divaina and Lakbima newspapers.
Illeperuma had called the editors of the newspapers every morning and advised them on publishing articles that were favorable to the government. He had advised the editors not to give much prominence to news items related to General Sarath Fonseka and the Mahanayakes and had asked news items about the President to be played up in an attractive manner.
Removal of electoral organizer posts violates SLFP Constitution
A senior government minister told Lanka News Web that the President’s decision to remove the posts of electoral organizers by replacing them with the posts of district organizers is a complete violation of the SLFP Constitution.
He explained that the party organizers have been allocated with specific powers and any one who wished to join the party could do so only through the electoral organizers. Therefore, with the removal of such a post in the party, there would be no legal provision to permit any member from the opposition to join the SLFP.
STRICT ACTION WILL BE TAKEN AGAINST HUNTING OF EMPLOYEES IN RUPAWAHINI COOPORATION – NTUC WARNS
In a letter to the secretary to the ministry of media, NTUC insists in withdrawal of illegitimate punishment orders offered against 13 employees by the chairman of SLRC. The letter has been sent today with the signature of chairman of NTUC, former MP Mr. K.D Lal Kantha.
National Trade Union Centre states that political vengeance has been taken against 13 employees after the recent presidential election and it is a severe impediment to the media freedom of the country. In its letter, NTUC comprising 366 trade unions warns that strict trade union actions will be taken if the secretory to the ministry of media does not take immediate
UNF goes to court against the slashing of security
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told Lanka News Web that the UNF has decided to file an FR petition against the slashing of security of former parliamentarians.
The IGP yesterday announced that the security provided to former opposition parliamentarians would be removed and the security provided to non cabinet and deputy ministers and several former governing party parliamentarians would remain the same. The IG said the security provided to former parliamentarians was removed following a directive by the Elections Commissioner.
A situation similar to Burma would happen in Sri Lanka!
President had warned the Malwatte Chief Priest
Reliable sources said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had called the Chief Priest of the Malwatte Chapter yesterday (16) morning and warned that a situation similar to Burma would take place in Sri Lanka and the Buddhist monks would be in great danger if the Sangha Convention was held.
Attempt to arrest media unit head of Common Presidential Candidate
A group of TID members headed by IP Chrishantha Dias had arrived at the Colombo political division, SNAP, situated in Rajagiriya today (17) to arrest the head of the Common Presidential Candidate’s media unit head, Asanka Mahagedaragamage. He was assigned to the media unit of the Common Presidential Candidate as a representative of the UNP media unit during the Presidential election.
The Movement for Democracy and the Protection of Human Rights in Sri Lanka has launched a programme to collect information about anti democratic incidents and human rights violations that have taken place in the country to present them before the UN.
The Movement that is headquartered in London has already commenced official discussions on the matter with Amnesty International and the UN. The Movement has requested all Sri Lankans to inform them of any anti democratic incidents or human rights violation in the country. Contact details are given below.
One of General Sarath Fonseka’s coordinating officials told Lanka News Web that the General has decided to contest under the trophy symbol of the Democratic National Alliance if the UNP decides to contest under the elephant symbol without contesting under the swan symbol.
General Fonseka has been named as the leader of the party while JVP’s Vijitha Herath has been named as the secretary. The General’s office at Rajakeeya Mawatha has been registered as the party address.
Plan to block the internet postponed till elections conclude
The President has advised the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to temporarily stop the plan to impose regulations on internet access until the conclusion of the general election, sources said. Media reports on the government’s plan to impose barricades on internet access caused a stir.
However, it is learnt that arrangements have been made to bring in a regulation for news websites to prove it has over 200,000 viewers to receive the media accreditation from the Information Department this year.
The Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court ordered the release of Lanka newspaper Editor, Chandana Sirimalwatte, who was arrested under the emergency regulations and detained for 19 days on an order by the Defence Secretary.
The order was delivered when Sirimalwatte was presented before courts on the 16th. The CID at the time was unable to present any charges against Sirimalwatte. The Magistrate ordered the CID to release Sirimalwatte without any bail regulations.
Meanwhile, the Government Information Department reported that the President had ordered IGP Mahinda Balasuriya to inform him, as the Media Minister, in future of any action the police planned to take against journalists.
Sangha Convention postponed amidst government pressure
The Sangha Convention that was scheduled to be held on the 18th at the Maha Maluwa in Kandy to address the present chaotic situation in the country and restore democracy and good governance has been postponed indefinitely following pressure from the government.
A massive campaign was launched under the President to prevent the Sangha Convention from being held on the scheduled date. The campaign had even caused a division among the Maha Sngha.
Posts of SLFP electoral organizers removed to benefit members of the Nil Balakaya and relatives
The President has ordered that all SLFP contestants be appointed as district leaders after immediately canceling the posts of SLFP electoral organizers in each district to help members of the Nil Balakaya, relatives and Presidential confidantes who are planning to contest the general election.
However, a senior government minister observed that although the President has said the decision was made to minimize the battle for preferential votes among candidates from the same party and to increase their productivity, electoral organizers would now move beyond their limits to grab preferential votes from their respective districts causing huge internal conflicts.
UNP defector to the government, Minister Johnston Fernando has been appointed as the SLFP organizer for the Nikaweratiya electorate that fell vacant following the sudden death of former parliamentarian Soma Kumari Tennekoon.
Minister S.B. Navinna who had objected to the appointment of Johnston Fernando to the Nikaweratiya electorate, was appointed as the UPFA Kurunegala District leader at the general election. The President’s decision to appoint Navinna as the district leader is expected to silence him on Fernando’s appointment.
Former Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has been appointed as the Kurunegala District deputy leader.
President asks John where he has been all this while
The President who was displeased with the inactiveness of Minister John Seneviratne during the Presidential election campaign had recently asked the Minister when he had visited the Temple Trees, “Ah John, where were you all this while?” The President had asked this question in front of many people in a condescending manner.
Sources from Temple Trees said the President had received reports that Minister John Seneviratne did not work much for the President’s campaign in the Ratnapura District and that it was Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi who had done most of the campaigning work.
Proposal congratulating the President defeated at Horana Pradeshiya Sabha
The proposal brought forward on the 16th in the Horana Pradeshiya Sabha to congratulate the President on his victory was defeated. The proposal presented by the PS Chairman Yamith Haturusinghe had received eight votes in favor while 10 had objected to it.
Members of the UNP and JVP voted against the proposal.
Crackdown Provokes Fears for Sri Lanka’s Democracy
In a part of the world better known for the interruption of democracy than its stubborn endurance, Sri Lanka has always been something of an oddity. A small country that suffered through one of the world’s nastiest recent wars, it nevertheless remained for the most part a vibrant multiparty democracy.
Last spring the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa decisively defeated the Tamil Tiger insurgency that had terrorized Sri Lanka for the better part of three decades. Last month, voters rewarded him with a landslide victory that gave him a new term.
The recent Presidential elections were widely heralded as being the first in recent times in which the people in the entire country could participate and as signifying the reunification of a country that was for so long divided by war. However, the political developments after the elections are indicative of a growing political crisis in the country and practices that are in contravention of the norms of democracy and good governance. At the centre of these developments has been the sudden arrest of the defeated Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka who represented a joint Opposition alliance less than two weeks after the election at which he obtained the votes of over 4 million
EU temporarily withdraws GSP+ trade benefits from Sri Lanka
EU Member States decided to withdraw preferential tariff benefits to Sri Lanka under a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP+. This decision follows an exhaustive investigation by the European Commission, which identified significant shortcomings in respect of Sri Lanka’s implementation of three UN human rights conventions relevant for benefits under the scheme.
The suspension of GSP+ benefits is temporary, as the overarching EU objective remains to use GSP+ as an incentive to underpin improvements in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. The suspension will only take effect in six months time, giving Sri Lanka extra time to address the problems identified.
CTB UNIONS INQUIRE IN TO THE ILLEGAL TRANSFERS FROM DULLES
All Ceylon Transport Employees Union sends a letter informing the minister Dulles Allahpperuma to interfere to suspend the illegal transfers done entirely violating the transfer system of CTB after the presidential election.
According to the 7th sentence on 3rd page of transfer system of CTB, no branch secretary, president or treasurer of a recognized trade union can be transferred with any reason except disciplinary reason, and the letter sent to the minister indicates that several leaders of the union have been transferred illegally after the presidential election. Spokesman of All Ceylon Transport Employees Union who expressed his views told us that more than 450 employees of CTB had been transferred in whole country on political reasons.
Shiral’s sathyagraha faced with various difficulties
A group of police officers had yesterday taken away the megaphone used by people engaged in chanting stanzas invoking blessings on General Sarath Fonseka opposite Sirikotha, where UNP Kotte organizer Attorney Shiral Lakthileka has organized a sathyagraha against the forcible abduction and detention of the General.
Apart from the police officers, thugs affiliated to a governing party member of the Kotte Municipal Council have also arrived at the venue of the sathyagraha.
Sri Lankans living in France staged a mammoth demonstration yesterday (15th February) in front of Sri Lankan embassy in France.
This protest convened by the “Campaign for Democracy in Sri Lanka - Paris” was well attended by all major political party members together with civil rights activists and journalists to protest against the illegal and politically motivated arrest of the (RTRD) General Sarath Fonseka. Protesters were shouting slogans such as “release General”, “restore democracy in Sri Lanka”, “release journalists” etc. Defying the extreme cold weather, the demonstration lasted over two hours.
Families that have supported the SLFP for years in the Ratmalana electoral division have taken membership in the UNP to support the party at the forthcoming general election.
The photograph shows the families receiving their membership from the UNP’s Chief organizer for Ratmalana Mohan Lal Grero at the joint Ratmalana-Dehiwela UNP committee meeting on the 13th. Dehiwela Mount Lavinia Mayor Sunethra Ranasinghe and members from the civil society also attended the meeting.
The persons who took membership of the UNP and the party committee members are also shown below.
Kumar Rupasinghe to take legal action against Norway
Chairman of the Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE), Kumar Rupasinghe is reportedly planning on taking legal action against the Norwegian government for slashing funds that were allocated to the NGO.
One of the key NGOs in the country, the FCE has received millions of rupees in foreign funding each year. In some instances the funding received by the NGO is reportedly higher than the annual budgetary allocations made to certain ministries.
Opposition Leader denies involvement of the General and JVP in alleged coup story
Opposition and UNF Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special press statement today (15) said the UNF denied the baseless and false allegation leveled against General Sarath Fonseka and the JVP of being involved in a coup to topple the government.
He further said, “We always tried to assume power with the people’s will through a free and fair election. We were never prepared to assume power through blood shed and conspiracies.
Only Wimal, Champika, Rajitha and Johnny stood by our family
President tells state media heads
The President has openly declared last week that it was Wimal Weerawansa, Champika Ranawaka, Rajitha Senaratne and Johnston Fernando who defended the Rajapaksa family during the Presidential election. The President had made this statement during a discussion with the state media heads after he took over the Media Ministry. Former Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa had also attended the discussion.
The President had said that when General Sarath Fonseka, the JVP and other opposition political parties criticized the First Family, none of the so called SLFP leaders defended the family,
JVP to form new alliance led by General if UNP does not change its decision
The JVP is currently holding discussions on forming a separate alliance led by General Sarath Fonseka to contest the general election if the UNP does not change its decision arrived at by the Working Committee to contest under the elephant symbol.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva addressing a media conference said the party would not fall to such a low level where it would give prominence to the number of seats in parliament and sideline the General who came forward to contest the Presidential election to safeguard democracy. He said that although the need of the hour was for a common opposition alliance with the UNP to contest the election, the JVP would form a separate alliance led by the General to contest if
Earl Gunasekera has secretly worked for the President at the Presidential election
Sources from Sirikotha said the UNP leadership has learnt that former UNP Polonnaruwa District parliamentarian and millionaire businessman Earl Gunaskera has secretly supported President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential election.
It is learnt that Gunasekera in one instance had given the President Rs. 50 lakhs for his election campaign.
Sources also said that although Gunasekera had expressed his desire to join the government, the President had advised him to contest the general election from the UNP and cross over to the government after entering parliament from the UNP.
Protests in Los Angeles against forceful detention of the General
Sri Lankans living overseas have also organized protests in several countries against the forceful abduction and detention of General Sarath Fonseka. One such protest was organized outside the Sri Lankan consulate office in Los Angeles last Friday.
A large number of Sri Lankans had participated in the protest organized by the “Movement for Democracy in Sri Lanka – America.”
Thug who attacked Maharagama protestors identified
The thug who attacked protestors who participated in the protest organized against the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka in Maharagama has been identified. The Lanka Truth website has reported that the thug has been identified as Ruwan Nishantha De Silva from Matara.
The news report on the website explains the individual further.
We published photographs of a person in civilian clothes who suddenly emerged from nowhere during the police attack on the demonstration organized at Maharagama to protest against the illegal arrest and detention of the Common
Press Release issued by the Lawyers for Democracy (LfD)
Lawyers Urge Government to Respect the Right to Peaceful Protest
Lawyers for Democracy
Lawyers for Democracy (LfD), a body of lawyers representing over 300 lawyers around the country, committed to democratic values, are deeply concerned with and condemn the events of the past week where a person’s right to protest and expression guaranteed in the Constitution of Sri Lanka were severely undermined by the law enforcement authorities and supporters of the government.
Bodies of 2 Jaffna University students recovered from a pond in Jaffna
Koappaay police recovered the bodies of a male and a female first year students of Management Faculty of Jaffna University which were found floating in Eriyaku’lam pond in Irupaalai by local residents, sources in Jaffna said.
The two students had rejoined the university after being held in Vavuniyaa Sri Lanka Army (SLA) detention centre along with the Vannni IDPs. Fear and tension prevail among the students of Jaffna University. The male student was identified as Victor Aruldas, 21, originally from Kaangkeasanthu’rai who had later gone to Vanni.
Police Spokesperson SP Prishantha Jayakody said that he was unable to divulge the identity of the persons arrested by the CID in connection with The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s assassination.
However, the print media has reported that Brigadier Kepptivalana, who is currently in the custody of the CID, had divulged many details regarding Wickrematunge’s assassination and that an Army Colonel is to be arrested shortly.
When inquired about further details, the Police Spokesperson said the CID did not wish to divulge any details regardless of the news stories published.
Sources from temple Trees said that NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa has requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to allow any governing party member to take part in programmes telecast on Sirasa TV after handing nominations and not to give any UPFA advertisements to the institution.
Wimal had made this comment at a party leaders meeting held under the leadership of the President recently. He had also asked the Sirasa media institution not be invited to any of the propaganda rallies of the governing party that would be held during the election campaign.
UNP Western Provincial Councilor Mohan Lal Grero says that he would never leave the UNP and has not held any discussion with the government on the matter. Grero observed that he had seen Basil Rajapaksa only through photographs in the newspapers and posters.
He made this comment in response to a story carried in our website on the 11th that Mohan Lal Grero was in discussion to join the government. In a response sent to our e-mail address he has said the story was being circulated by persons who were jealous of his imminent victory at the forthcoming general election when he contests.
The Sri Lankan embassy has organized a cultural event to celebrate the 62nd Independence Day of Sri Lanka on the 13th and Sri Lankan Ambassador to Washington, Jaliya Wickremasuriya is reportedly taking measures to disrupt the peaceful protest organized on the same day by a group of Sri Lankans supporting democracy in their mother country.
The ambassador has informed the Washington Police that a pro-LTTE group was planning to disrupt the proceedings of the Independence Day celebrations and the cultural event and that if they were not arrested upon their arrival at the embassy, they may attack the invitees.
Basil’s b-i-l celebrates Presidential election victory at public expense
Sources from the US said that Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa’s wife’s brother, Ananda Wickremasinghe who is the Consul General for Sri Lanka in Los Angeles, has made arrangements to celebrate the Presidential election victory.
The celebrations are scheduled to be held at his luxurious residence on the 13th and businessmen and Rajapaksa loyalists living across the US have been invited for the event.
Sources also said that expenditure on air fair and hotel accommodation for invitees traveling to the venue from various parts of the US is borne by the Sri Lankan Consul General’s office in Los Angeles.
“No interference on NGOs if they work with responsibility,” President tells UN Secretary General
The website maintained by NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa states that the President had informed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that NGOs in the country have interfered in sensitive issues and that the government would not hamper their activities if these entities acted with responsibility.
According to the website, the President had made this comment to the UN Secretary General during a telephone conversation between the two on the 10th. The report states the President had informed the UN Secretary General that the NGOs should act with more responsibility and be transparent in its functions.
Mahanayakes call for Sangha Convention to establish democracy and good governance
The Mahanayakas of the three Chapters have decided to call for a Sangha Convention with the participation of the Maha Sangha to address the chaotic situation developing in the country and to strengthen democracy and establish good governance.
The Sangha Convention is to be held at the historic Maha Maluwa in Kandy on the 18th at 3.00 p.m.
A letter has been sent to all temples in the country with the signatures of Mahanayake of Malwatta Chapter Ven Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero, Mahanayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Thero, Mahanayake of Amarapura Chapter Ven.
Johnny and Lakshman to be called to give evidence against the General
A senior official from the Attorney General’s Department told Lanka News Web that the government was planning on calling Minister Johnston Fernando and former UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella to give evidence that General Sarath Fonseka was engaged in politics while serving as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
Johnston Fernando has already informed members in the defence establishment that he and Lakshman Seneviratne kept in touch with the General on political matters when he was CDS after being introduced to him by a journalist. The CID has therefore recorded a statement from Lakshman Seneviratne yesterday.
CID trying hard to arrest the General’s son-in-law
The CID is reportedly trying hard to arrest General Sarath Fonseka’s son-in-law, Danuna Thilekaratne.
The CID it is learnt had visited his parent’s house on the 10th to search the premises in order to arrest him. The order by Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne preventing Danuna from traveling overseas following his alleged involvement in the Hicorp case had resulted in the CID search.
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.