Hunger strike by monks disrupted by Sri Lanka police

April 5th, 2010 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, April 5 (DPA) A hunger strike by a group of Buddhist monks demanding the release of ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka has been disrupted by police, the group’s lawyer said Monday.
The four Buddhist monks and two laymen began their hunger strike Saturday. They demand that General Fonseka, who was arrested Feb 8, be released from military custody.

“Policemen in civvies carried away the monks and their supporters into a waiting bus,” their lawyer Gunaratna Wanninayaka said.

A journalist at the site of the protest said that other supporters were also taken away to an unknown destination.

The incident came a day ahead of the start of court martial proceedings against Fonseka, who lost Sri Lanka’s January presidential elections against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Fonseka is facing charges of conspiracy against the government and “fraudulent activity” while serving as army commander.

The ex-army chief who spearheaded the successful military campaign against the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam later fell out with the government and contested the polls as the opposition’s candidate.

Fonseka is running in the upcoming April 8 parliamentary elections as a candidate of an opposition alliance.

His wife, Anoma Fonseka is campaigning on his behalf since his arrest. She has claimed that her husband has not been given proper medical attention during his detention. The military has denied the claim.

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