Sajith Premadasa
Onlanka News –
By Walter Jayawardhana

The Hindu newspaper in a front page news item said that contrary to speculation that a procedural snag is delaying the release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka the stage has been  set for the release.

After visiting the jailed leader now in Nawaloka Hospital,  with other parliamentarians of his party. the Deputy leader of the United National Party, Sajith Premadasa said his party hopes the freedom granted  will be a one without any conditions or limitations.

He also told the Sirasa TV that when  General Fonseka is out he could provide leadership to all parties in the opposition. Now the Leader of Opposition is UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe.

The two daughters Apsara and Aparna Fonseka flew to Sri Lanka to visit their father in the Nawaloka Hospital.  Aparna told TV cameramen that even during the height of the war her father led,  their dad managed to see them every six months. “ But this time my sister and I saw him after two and half years. My father and three of us were in tears,” the elder daughter Apsara said.

She said the first thing they would do when he is free is to visit a Buddhist temple for religious observances.

The following is the item the Hindu published:

“The stage has been set for the release of the jailed General Sarath Fonseka, contrary to speculation that a procedural snag was delaying his leaving the hospital where he was shifted to last week.

“President Mahinda Rajapaksa signed the papers on 18th evening and handed over the papers to Chief of Staff Gamini Senerath before leaving for Qatar to enable the release of Sarath Fonseka. Papers will be sent to the Ministry of Justice on Monday,” Bandula Jayasekara, Presidential Spokesman, said early on Sunday.

Speculation on his release date began doing the rounds after The Hindu broke the story on his release, after speaking to the President on the sidelines of a function held here last week to launch a book, Gota’s War.

At no stage did the officials set a date on the release. The President himself is on record, telling The Hindu that details of his release were being worked out, and that he was waiting for MP Tiren Alles, the main negotiator between the President and the Fonseka family, to come back from abroad, before taking steps on procedures ahead of a release. The first formality was a Cabinet approval. This came last Thursday.

Sarath Fonseka, who was arrested on February 8, 2010 by military police and subjected to a court martial on a variety of charges, that included harbouring deserters, and defaming the Defence Secretary, has served more than 2 years in prison. He is now serving a 30-month jail term and has also been convicted for another 3 years last November.”