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Sri Lanka military police arrest defeated opposition candidate

[JURIST] Sri Lankan military police on Monday arrested defeated opposition presidential candidate and former general Sarath Fonseka [BBC profile]. The Sri Lankan Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) announced [press release] that Fonseka was arrested "in connection with certain fraudulent acts and other military offences." Fonseka, who orchestrated the successful military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive] in May, unsuccessfully attempted to turn the military campaign to political advantage in January's presidential elections [NYT report].

Last week 37 people, most of them military officers, were arrested in connection to an alleged assassination attempt against current President Mahinda Rajapaksa [official website]. The Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruled last Tuesday that Rajapaksa's second term [JURIST report] will begin in November. The apparent victor in January's elections, Rajapaksa defeated Fonseka by an official margin of 18 points, winning re-election to a second term in office. Fonseka has disputed [Al Jazeera report] the results, however, saying violence and vote-counting irregularities invalidated the outcome.

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