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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

SF will be released with civic rights intact – AG

Attorney General Eva Wanasundera yesterday said that as far as she was aware President Rajapaksa had signed an unconditional pardon for Gen. Sarath Fonseka and therefore his civic and other rights were in no way affected by his imprisonment.

Ms. Wanasundera told The Island that since the President had signed documents to pardon Gen. Fonseka under Section 34(1) of the Constitution from cases in which he had been convicted in order to obtain that pardon he had to first withdraw all appeals pending in the Appeals Court against those convictions

Ms. Wanasundera said that Gen. Fonseka’s lawyers would have to move a motion in the Appeals Court before a panel of judges to withdraw the appeals pending before the court. Then the Court would inform the Justice Ministry of the withdrawal thereof for Gen. Fonseka to be released from prison.

According to the AG the file containing the documents signed by the President pardoning the General was already with the Justice Ministry.

The AG said she was hopeful that Gen. Fonseka could walk free today itself, if those steps could be completed during the day.Democratic National Alliance MP Tiran Alliance, who led the negotiations to have Gen. Fonseka released, said he hoped to have the pending appeals withdrawn through a motion moved in the Appeals Court this morning.

Presidential spokesman Bandula Jayasekera told The Island that ‘President Rajapaksa had signed the papers on Friday evening and handed over the papers to his Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath before leaving for Qatar to enable the release of Sarath Fonseka. Papers will be sent to the Ministry of Justice on Monday’.

With the good news, there was much laughter at Nawaloka hospital when Gen. Fonseka’s wife and two daughters visited him.

One of Gen. Fonseka’s daughters said: “Our family which was broken up is once again together and we can be really happy together when our dad walks to freedom. When we heard of his impending release we were simply overjoyed. There are no words to describe our happiness.”

With their mental burdens lessened, the Fonsekas were seen even engaged in small talk and his room was simply filled with laughter.

Mrs. Fonseka said that even if he was released today Gen. Fonseka would have to remain in hospital until he was discharged.

By Ajith Alahakoon and Norman Palihawadana


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