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Sri Lanka ex-army chief court-martials postponed

[JURIST] Two separate court-martial proceedings against former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] were adjourned Tuesday. The trials, originally set to resume Tuesday, were postponed [BBC report] due to an ongoing case in the Sri Lankan Court of Appeals [official website], which is examining the legality of the court-martials. Fonseka faces two separate court-martials, charging him with participating in politics while in uniform and with improperly awarding army procurement contracts. Fonseka maintains that the allegations are a politically motivated effort to bar him from participating in the nation's upcoming elections. Fonseka is scheduled for a hearing before the Sri Lankan Supreme Court [official website] on April 26, where he will challenge his detention.

Fonseka was arrested [JURIST report] by the military in February after losing presidential elections held the previous month. In March, the former chief justice of the Supreme Court criticized [JURIST report] the government's treatment of the general. Sarath Nanda Silva, who retired from the Sri Lankan Supreme Court last year, accused the government of using the military justice system to prevent Fonseka from participating in the upcoming elections, and of violating Fonseka's civil rights. Silva also said that Fonseka's arrest was made in violation of the country's constitution [text].

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