Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Court martial day

It’s THE day, the day I will see my father taken to face a jury which listens to only one side of the story and knows the verdict of the case even before it is opened. I am scared. I am nervous, worried, and stressed. I am clueless about what could happen at the court. I sense that the judgment will be biased and I am not saying this because General Sarath Fonseka is my father. I am saying this because of the many reasons that have been folded up with this case from the day after the presidential elections took place on January 26.


I’ve blogged about some of the incidents and I am wondering how this game will be played. The government has been making and breaking the law and regulations for their own benefit. Here I want to recount what has happened to see if any of it makes sense:


January 27: More than 300 army soldiers surrounded us at the Hotel Cinnamon Lakeside. The accusation was that we were keeping army deserters and my father was planning a military coup. The accusations are false. The court released the accused people on February 26 because the CID and TID failed to find any evidence against them.


              My father’s name was blacklisted so he could not exit the country for whatever reason. It was the first time in the history of Sri Lanka that an opposition leader had to wonder if his life was in jeopardy for standing in the elections. My family had been under house arrest for more than 48 hours already.


January 29: The government searched General Sarath Fonseka’s campaign office without a warrant and arrested employees. They accused one of the officers, Brigadier Duminda Keppetiwala, harassed him to give statements against my father. He said, “I feel like putting the nose around my neck for what atrocities this government is committing on us for saving the country.”


              Under what legal condition can a person be arrested without a warrant? In what country can a government harass a person into giving false statements? The government also dismissed 12 senior military officers, including three major generals from the army. They were accused of helping General Fonseka. Recently, the government dismissed 10 police officers under more false allegations.


February 8: My father was abducted from his office at 9.15 p.m. They failed to produce a warrant or charge sheets. My father was a civilian then and he should have been arrested by the police, not the army. The officer who came to take him away, Major General Manawadu, a lower ranked officer than my father had been while in the army. According to army regulations, lower ranked officers aren’t allowed to arrest senior officials, even ex-army staff, unless it’s a fraudulent enlistment, desertion or bribery.


              That day onward, the government has attempted to silence civilians. Threats were issued to religious leaders and journalists also. I could go on and on but the point is that there is no democracy in Sri Lanka. There is no such thing as a fair trial anymore. My father was abducted and kept in a small room for almost a month without charges. It was almost funny to see the government trying to collect evidence after they had abducted him. When you keep a person for a month, it’s easy to make false evidence and statements. A few weeks before the charge sheets were given to my father, some high government official said in the public media that my father would be jailed for five years. How can someone say that? They already have the verdict for his trial? To refuse transparency and hide evidence for the charges, they’ve taken the steps to court martial him. Another funny thing is the court martial judge panel: The chairman of the military tribunal is Maj. Gen. H.L. Weeraetunga, the brother-in-law of the present Army commander Lt. Col. Jagath Jayasuriya. The other major generals named are people who are very loyal to the president.

              The trial against my father itself is illegal. The army act does not apply to him. The government is avoiding transparency by opting for court martial because they do not have to show what is going on. Officials in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan people and international parties such as the Assistant secretary of State Robert Blake in the US, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Shadow Defense Secretary Liam Fox in the UK have all asked the government to hold a civil case and ensure transparency. The government has disregarded all requests and put the case up for court martial because they clearly do not want him to participate in the upcoming general elections. For further information regarding the charges, please look at articles written by Former District Court Judge Kulatileke and Former Chief Justice Sarath N. De silva. 




Today, my father will face those people who have already been told what their decision must be. Today, the public will not see what happened and that is what the government wants. Today, my father will be put behind bars for all that he fought for, for risking his life. The people can sense the truth even when they are not told what it is. Political shams don’t last forever and there will be a time when the truth will come out and the truth will set him free.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

'I hope my murder will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration'

This extraordinary article by the editor of the Sri Lankan Sunday Leader was published three days after he was shot dead in Colombo

Lasantha Wickrematunge
The Guardian, Tuesday 13 January 2009
Article history

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces - and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the last few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print institutions have been burned, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last.

I have been in the business of journalism a good long time. Indeed, 2009 will be the Sunday Leader's 15th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need me to tell you that the greater part of that change has been for the worse. We find ourselves in the midst of a civil war ruthlessly prosecuted by protagonists whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Terror, whether perpetrated by terrorists or the state, has become the order of the day. Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.

Why then do we do it? I often wonder that. After all, I too am a husband, and the father of three wonderful children. I too have responsibilities and obligations that transcend my profession, be it the law or journalism. Is it worth the risk? Many people tell me it is not. Friends tell me to revert to the bar, and goodness knows it offers a better and safer livelihood.
Others, including political leaders on both sides, have at various times sought to induce me to take to politics, going so far as to offer me ministries of my choice. Diplomats, recognising the risk journalists face in Sri Lanka, have offered me safe passage and the right of residence in their countries.

Whatever else I may have been stuck for, I have not been stuck for choice.
But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, lucre and security. It is the call of conscience.

The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it: whether it be a spade, a thief or a murderer, we call it by that name. We do not hide behind euphemism. The investigative articles we print are supported by documentary evidence thanks to the public-spiritedness of citizens who at great risk to themselves pass on this material to us. We have exposed scandal after scandal, and never once in these 15 years has anyone proved us wrong or successfully prosecuted us.

The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it.

The Sunday Leader has never sought safety by unquestioningly articulating the majority view. Let's face it, that is the way to sell newspapers. On the contrary, as our opinion pieces over the years amply demonstrate, we often voice ideas that many people find distasteful. For instance, we have consistently espoused the view that while separatist terrorism must be eradicated, it is more important to address the root causes of terrorism, and urge government to view Sri Lanka's ethnic strife in the context of history and not through the telescope of terrorism. We have also agitated against state terrorism in the so-called war against terror, and made no secret of our horror that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world routinely to bomb its own citizens. For these views we have been labelled traitors; and if this be treachery, we wear that label proudly.

Many people suspect that the Sunday Leader has a political agenda: it does not. If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition, it is only because we believe that - excuse cricketing argot - there is no point in bowling to the fielding side. Remember that for the few years of our existence in which the United National party was in office, we proved to be the biggest thorn in its flesh, exposing excess and corruption wherever it occurred.
Indeed, the stream of embarrassing expositions we published may well have served to precipitate the downfall of that government.

Neither should our distaste for the war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tamil Tigers. The LTTE is among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organisations to have infested the planet. There is no gainsaying that it must be eradicated. But to do so by violating the rights of Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting mercilessly, is not only wrong but shames the Sinhalese, whose claim to be custodians of the dhamma is for ever called into question by this savagery - much of it unknown to the public because of censorship.

What is more, a military occupation of the country's north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self-respect. Do not imagine you can placate them by showering "development" and "reconstruction" on them in the postwar era. The wounds of war will scar them for ever, and you will have an even more bitter and hateful diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my compatriots - and all the government - cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government's sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended.

In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.
The irony in this is that, unknown to most of the public, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and I have been friends for more than a quarter-century. Indeed, I suspect that I am one of the few people remaining to routinely address him by his first name and use the familiar Sinhala address - oya - when talking to him.

Although I do not attend the meetings he periodically holds for newspaper editors, hardly a month passes when we do not meet, privately or with a few close friends present, late at night at President's House. There we swap yarns, discuss politics and joke about the good old days. A few remarks to him would therefore be in order here.

Mahinda, when you finally fought your way to the Sri Lanka Freedom party presidential nomination in 2005, nowhere were you welcomed more warmly than in this column. Indeed, we broke with a decade of tradition by referring to you throughout by your first name. So well known were your commitments to human rights and liberal values that we ushered you in like a breath of fresh air.

Then, through an act of folly, you got involved in the Helping Hambantota scandal. It was after a lot of soul-searching that we broke the story, urging you to return the money. By the time you did, several weeks later, a great blow had been struck to your reputation. It is one you are still trying to live down.

You have told me yourself that you were not greedy for the presidency. You did not have to hanker after it: it fell into your lap. You have told me that your sons are your greatest joy, and that you love spending time with them, leaving your brothers to operate the machinery of state. Now, it is clear to all who will see that that machinery has operated so well, my sons and daughter do not have a father.

In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry.
But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death, but dare not call his name. Not just my life but yours too depends on it.

As for me, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I walked tall and bowed to no man. And I have not travelled this journey alone. Fellow journalists in other branches of the media walked with me: most are now dead, imprisoned without trial or exiled in far-off lands. Others walk in the shadow of death that your presidency has cast on the freedoms for which you once fought so hard. You will never be allowed to forget that my death took place under your watch. As anguished as I know you will be, I also know that you will have no choice but to protect my killers: you will see to it that the guilty one is never convicted. You have no choice.

As for the readers of the Sunday Leader, what can I say but thank you for supporting our mission. We have espoused unpopular causes, stood up for those too feeble to stand up for themselves, locked horns with the high and mighty so swollen with power that they have forgotten their roots, exposed corruption and the waste of your hard-earned tax rupees, and made sure that whatever the propaganda of the day, you were allowed to hear a contrary view. For this I - and my family - have paid the price that I had long known I would one day have to pay. I am, and have always been, ready for that. I have done nothing to prevent this outcome: no security, no precautions. I want my murderer to know that I am not a coward like he is, hiding behind human shields while condemning thousands of innocents to death. What am I among so many? It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remained to be written was when.

That the Sunday Leader will continue fighting the good fight, too, is written. For I did not fight this fight alone. Many more of us have to be - and will be - killed before the Leader is laid to rest. I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts. Indeed, I hope that it will help galvanise forces that will usher in a new era of human liberty in our beloved motherland. I also hope it will open the eyes of your president to the fact that however many are slaughtered in the name of patriotism, the human spirit will endure and flourish.

People often ask me why I take such risks and tell me it is a matter of time before I am bumped off. Of course I know that: it is inevitable. But if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they be ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted. An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niemöller. In his youth he was an antisemite and an admirer of Hitler. As nazism took hold of Germany, however, he saw nazism for what it was. It was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niemöller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, he wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
If you remember nothing else, let it be this: the Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled.
Its staff will fight on, unbowed and unafraid, with the courage to which you have become accustomed. Do not take that commitment for granted. Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.

• This is an edited version of an article published in the Sunday Leader editorial column on 11 January. Its author, who co-founded the paper in 1994, was killed three days earlier by unidentified gunmen as he drove to work. He is believed to have written the editorial just days before his death. The full version is at http://www.thesundayleader.lk/

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yet no Justice

It’s been a while since I’ve written and I have thought of writing for a while but because of all the surprising things that my life brings everyday, I had no clue where to start and what to write about. There is so much I have to share. Every morning I wake up wondering what will happen today to my family and how will the day end for us. Today, I decided it was time again to write. I know most of you have thousands of questions in your mind and are confused. I am as confused too. I understand how difficult it is to seek any information because the government media has flooded and drowned the country with false information. So here I am today, writing once again. I will write everything I know and speak for those who are afraid, for those who fear for their lives.

I have read all of your comments on my blog and feel that I must clarify some pressing matters. My father did not kill innocent civilians. He fought to end the deaths of innocent civilians. He did not betray his men; he took the blame that others heaped on our soldiers. He was an army general and as such, took necessary steps to stop violence in our country. It wasn’t just him, we as a nation were in it together. 

Having said that, I do not endorse violence. I do not think violence justifies anything but I have no part in the decision-making. He is my father and was my country’s general. I do feel the pain some of you have gone through. I know in war times it is incredibly difficult, mothers crying from the north to south. We lost our families, sisters, brothers from every corner of Sri Lanka. We, all of us Sri Lankans, not just Tamils. However, we must not give in to hatred. Why divide a nation when we can work better together? We must through all this hurt and pain and sorrow find a way to bridge the divide that has killed so many of us. The fact is that the war is over now. It is time to develop our country into the one we envision. We should get rid of these labels that divide us. We maybe Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, and other race, religion and ethnicities, but deep down inside, deep, deep, deep down in our core, we are Sri Lankans. Despite the hurt and pain and sorrow, we are still Sri Lankans and we must not lose sight of that. What will we have to gain if we fight against each other constantly? 

We need to work toward identifying the problems we have and finding ways to solve it. Through this blog, I’ve realized that if we were to work together, to create a network where we can channel all this hatred and sorrow and pain and hurt to heal Sri Lanka, we might get somewhere. Is there a way we could fight corruption? Is there a way we could fight poverty? Is there a way we could defy the government and make sure that all citizens have equal rights? 

We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful country but we take things for granted. We even take bad leadership for granted. Can we do something, take action, positive action and foster growth? Take Singapore for example, they used us as an example to develop their country. First thing they did was stop corruption from the top. There are no excuses for us now. We had a war going on and we used that as an excuse. The war is over now and yet the country continues to plunge. At least, we had the freedom to speak our mind even with a war raging but no Sri Lanka has been muzzled. We’ve been limited to the face and voice of Rajapaksha. We as a nation deserve better.

It has been 24 days today since they illegally detained my father. For what reason? No one knows. Not you, not me, or the government. Isn’t that insane? They tell the world that my father lives in a luxury hotel room. Let me tell you about the place they’ve put him in. He was taken on 8 February to the Navy base. They were afraid to take him to an army base because they thought that the army officers and soldiers would see the injustice of the situation and try to rescue him. That first day, my father didn’t even have any food to eat. The windows were sealed with wood. There was zero ventilation in the room. The military police and navy soldiers who were outside guarding the room had a portable ventilation system but my father was denied sunshine and clean air to breathe. The past year’s attacks and the suicide bomber incident has weakened my father’s lungs and he needs a ventilation system. After having complained several times, they’ve now unsealed one window and put a tiny iron mesh. When my mother asked if we could give him a small portable ventilation system, they refused. The past terrorist leaders are living under luxury roofs in comparison to the small room where my father, once the hero, is shut. 

After the first hearing of my father’s fundamental rights case on 23 February, the supreme court granted visits from his attorney, but until the beginning of March, there were people who were going beyond supreme court orders and has not let lawyers visit my father. My father is only given two newspapers to read, pro-government newspapers: Daily News and Dinamina. The government is doing their best to mislead the people by showing that they have given my father every comfort. 

The attack on my family doesn’t end there. The government arrested my father for no charges but they are watching my mother to find faults in whatever possible way. Her speeches are recorded by the government everyday to find a point to accuse her. Now, they are accusing my sister of being a part of some money laundering scheme and my bother-in-law as a arms dealer. The only person left is me. I wonder what they will come up next. 

Why are they harassing us? If they think the election is fair, why go to this trouble of painting us black and harassing those who’ve supported us? Why attack if you have nothing to defend? Is it a crime to have an opposition party in a country? It has only been a year since we earned peace, or thought we earned it. I do not understand what is happening but I do believe that time will tell and the truth will be set free. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but a day will come. Until then, we need courage to go on.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 10th

Yesterday, Sri Lankan civilians rose up to demand a valid, reasonable answer for my father's arrest. They weren't looking for a fight. They were looking for an answer. The people were holding non-violent rallies all over Sri Lanka. When thugs began throwing rocks at the protestors, the police only stood by and watched (http://sl-tube.com/video/Battle_in_Colombo_a_Protest_Demanding_Release_of_Sarath_Fonseka ).It has been over 48 hours that the government has held my father without charge sheets. They have intermittently come up with reasons such as: my father conversed with the political parties while he was serving the country as general. My father clearly mentioned and showed to the public that he would not do or say anything regarding politics while he was still serving the country in uniform ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSzNfY26wLI ). After the elections took place, their allegation was that my father was conspiring to start a military coup against the government to assassinate the president. This is a pointless argument because if he had wanted to do such a thing, he could have easily done it while in the army. He had no such intention.

On the 8th of February when my father was arrested, a feeling of tremendous helplessness overwhelmed me. I called up my mother and was unable to bear hearing her cry. I wanted to speak up, speak out but I didn't know where or how to start. I felt weak. The last time I had heard her cry so was when my father had been taken to the hospital after the suicide bomb attack. She's been the rock of strength in our family and when she faced the media on the 9th and spoke her heart out through tears, so many mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers cried with her. It felt to me like Sri Lanka was weeping, too. The reactions and support we've had since has given me the courage and hope to be strong, knowing that our family hasn't been left alone. I've been getting messages asking how my father is, prayers and concerns for my family from Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, and Sri Lankans of every ethnicity. People have risen against injustice non-violently and it was encouraging to see that people are refusing to be blinded again; religious leaders such as Ven. Malwathu Mahanayke (http://www.lankatruth.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4678:-this-leader-doesnt-listen-to-us-only-pretends-he-takes-our-advice-ven-malwatu-mahanayke&catid=35:local&Itemid=50) and Mahanayake of Asgiriya Chapter are some examples (
http://www.lankatruth.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4686:arrest-of-gen-fonseka-is-illegal-and-unacceptable-mahanayake-of-asgiriya-chapter&catid=35:local&Itemid=62 ).

I do not affiliate myself with politics. I write this blog as a Sri Lankan, a civilian, and a daughter. I respect those who are risking their lives for my father but I do not want others to lose their fathers, mothers, brothers, or sisters either. I realize that my father is not just my father but that he has become a symbol for the nation. And yet, because he is my father I cannot express enough gratitude to the people who have risked their lives for his and for our country. Because of your commitment, my mother was allowed to file a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court against my father's arrest. We have also made an appeal to the Red Cross ICRS requesting to make arrangements for my father's military doctor who is familiar with his medical history since the suicide attack to attend his medical needs. He still has a lot of shrapnel parts in his body and needs regular medicine for them to heal. We hope that the appeal will work. My family will never forget the sacrifices and commitments you've made, big or small. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Yours sincerely,
Aparna Fonseka

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Note of thanks

Yesterday, my mother had the opportunity to go and see my father. He is currently doing fine and I pray that he will be safe and fine in future too. I will keep you all posted on how he is as the days pass by. I did not get the chance to talk to my father but hearing from my mother that he is fine has given me some comfort.

From the depths of my heart, I thank all of you for your well-wishes and prayers. I want you to know that I've read each posted comment and appreciate your reaction, your time and words. Thank you to our friends who have supported us through these intensely difficult times. Thank you especially to those who were ready to come forward and speak on our behalf. Thank you even to those who may not have agreed with my father's views but were not accepting of the recent turn of events from the current president. It takes courage to make those decisions and I respect that. Thank you to those who have criticized or turned us away when we asked for help. Without such criticism and indifference, I might not have felt the need to create this blog. But above all, thank you to my friends and family. It is a huge relief to know for certain where my father is and that he is okay.

I wish you all the courage we need to make it through these times of trials when our beliefs are shaken.

Aparna Fonseka

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where is my father?

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, my father was dragged away before his family and his life is in danger again. I cannot be a silent spectator any more.

My father dedicated forty years of his life to serving my motherland, Sri Lanka. Unlike other politicians or top officials, he did not earn a single penny other than respect from his country men. He rescued Sri Lanka from the ruthless terrorists, the LTTE (Liberation of Tamil Tiger Eelam), who spread fear and violence in the nation. Today, he was arrested without a warrant or a valid reason at his office in a manner that even a criminal or enemy would not be treated.

The person who came to the office to arrest my father was Major General Sumith Manawadu who was the officer in charge of Mullaitivu during the Eelam War IV and he was transferred to the Army headquarters in Colombo as punishment for issuing wrong orders to the ground troops, which resulted in the death of 117 soldiers in combat. According to what I’ve seen in newspapers, The Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa knew of this rift and used Major General Manawadu for several operations against my father. It was Major General Manawadu who also played the role of Commanding Officer in “Operation Trans Asia” who kept us under house arrest till the election results were called off and spread false rumors saying we were keeping army deserters. The only men who were with us on Election Day were my cousins, some party leaders, few retired army officers and the men who were legally appointed by the court for my father’s protection. The state media published news stating that the military that surrounded the hotel was for our own protection. This coming from a government who wouldn’t even assign enough military personnel for my father’s protection after he had resigned! Why would they send five hundred for our protection on Election Day? It was another story that the government cooked to silence skeptics and dampen questions that were being raised. We had decided to go to a hotel because of the threats we’d been getting from the government.

The state media is trying to label my father as a traitor to brainwash civilians. The rural areas only hear the voice of the state media and if some person raise their voice against the government in power, they will lose their jobs and even their lives. As soon as the election was over, the government seized my father’s office, took most of the equipments, and with no valid reason, arrested over 13 men who worked there. This was only the beginning they had launched against my father. They fired 14 military officers with the accusation that they were planning a military coup. There is no evidence for any of these allegations but I am also aware that they are capable of making false evidences after taking these people under arrest. Democracy in Sri Lanka has screeched to a halt. As the president said after the rigged election results were announced, “the law is equal to every person who lives in the country but to the president.”

On 2009, my father was known as the best army commander in the world. (Eg. http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items09/150109-8.html) Everyone wanted to know his methods and tactics. They were impressed by how he ended terrorism which had been going on for almost three consecutive decades. I can wholeheartedly say that he is the most patriotic man I know and possibly the most patriotic man who has ever lived in Sri Lanka. He sacrificed his life in the war not once, but three times! Sri Lanka, what more do you want from him?

Only my mother, sister and I can understand the amount of work and thought he put into the miraculous victory. There were countless days when I fell into restless sleep not knowing whether he would arrive home from work safely because of the many threats he had on his life. For weeks we wouldn’t see him because he had gone to join our brave soldiers at the war front. After the suicide bomber’s attempt, I sat for two whole days in the emergency room praying for a miracle to save my father’s life.

Now, I am sitting here clueless begging people for information and for help. I do not know where my father is, where they’ve taken him, what they’ve done to him. Why are they attacking him? For trying to save our country from corruption? Or because he is the only man with courage enough to stand up against the corrupt government? Or is it because he was the only one who understood the hardships of Sri Lankan civilians who live from one day to the next? My father is a hero and this is how they show their gratitude? I need my father back. This is an urgent and sincere request to help find him.


Aparna Fonseka

(Daughter of General Sarath Fonseka)

Urgent notice

Dear All,
As you know by now, a few hours ago, former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka was falsely arrested and dragged away forcibly by the same military that he served so faithfully for over 40 years.
The government has alleged that the General violated the military code of conduct during his tenure as the Army Commander.
The General was arrested by the military despite the fact that he is retired and is now a civilian. Therefore such an arrest, if at all, should have been conducted by the police. If the government alleges that military law still applies to General Fonseka, the law stipulates that he should be arrested by an officer holding a similar rank. This was not the case. Under the direction of the Secretary of Defense, the arrest was made by Major General Manawadu an officer two ranks his junior violating all military and civilian protocol.
The arresting officer insulted and dragged the General away when he questioned his arrest. He has not been allowed a lawyer, due procedure of detention, or even a call to his family - as yet no one knows where he is detained or what is being done to him.
It has come to light that the administration has made elaborate plans to kill the General, their claim being that he was shot while resisting his captors.
Although we are unable to verify this fact, we believe that he is being held at the Navy camp in Rangala.
As a nation, we should be ashamed of our leaders and of ourselves. For 30 years he fought on our behalf and risked his life for each and every one of us. Be it under threat of prosecution or even death - he never faltered in his duty and never once disobeyed his honest conscience.
Now it is your duty to do what you can to save his life. We at the media center of Sarath Fonseka, urge everyone to email us at sarathfonsekamedia@gmail.com with any information of his whereabouts.
Most importantly, we urge you to contact your politicians, religious leaders, media, civil society organizations and foreign embassies and make your voice heard to save the life of General Fonseka and democracy for our nation.

SF Media Unit