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Sri Lankan Govt must respect Fonseka's rights: US

The US has said the Sri Lankan government must respect the rights of detained former army chief Sarath Fonseka as it underlined the need for "greater transparency" in the court martial proceedings against the top general.

world Updated: May 29, 2010 19:06 IST

The US has said the Sri Lankan government must respect the rights of detained former army chief Sarath Fonseka as it underlined the need for "greater transparency" in the court martial proceedings against the top general.

"We haven't seen the specifics of the charges (of court martials), but we have consistently stressed that it is important that General Fonseka’s rights be respected and that he be accorded a full due process," said Robert Blake, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs in reply to a question by a reporter in Washington on the fate of the former army chief.

Ahead of the Lankan Foreign Minister G L Peiris' meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, the senior State Department official said he welcomed Colombo's decision that the ruling of the military courts "will be reviewed in civilian courts."

“So that there will be greater transparency about not only the charges, but the process that has been followed in these cases. So, again, we’ll follow the process of these cases very carefully," Blake said.

General Fonseka, who was a key aide of President Mahinda Rajapakse in chalking out the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels last May after three decades of bloody conflict, is facing a court martial trial for allegedly dabbling in politics while in uniform and for corrupt defence procurements.

The former top general quit the military before an unsuccessful bid to unseat Rajapakse from the presidency in the January 26 elections.

Fonseka has accused the government of victimising him on false charges and failing to convert the military success into a new era of peace in the country.