Fonseka denies telling lies, committing treason

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Colombo, June 9 (ANI): Imprisoned former Sri Lankan armed forces chief General (retired) Sarath Fonseka has denied being a liar or having committed treason.

The BBC said that he was responding to government allegations of him committing war crimes during fighting against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Fonseka spoke to the BBC Sinhala service via telephone while attending parliament, which he can do since being elected as an MP two months ago.

"How can it be?" he asked.

"If I cover up, if I hush up things, if I don't tell the truth fully I will become a traitor. If I know anything about war crimes my duty is to expose. That is what we are supposed to do as a responsible citizen, as a responsible ex-army officer, or as a responsible MP - we are not supposed to cover up anything," he added.

Fonseka accused Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of "throwing mud" after Rajapaksa told the BBC's HARDtalk programme that the general was a liar and might be hanged for - as he put it - betraying the country.

Fonseka said he would be prepared to testify before any independent investigation of alleged breaches of humanitarian law during the war against the Tamil Tigers - even though he himself was army commander at that time.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has meanwhile sought to clarify his remarks.

He told a local news website that what he meant was that if the general was found guilty of treason, he could be sentenced to death.

Gen Fonseka is currently undergoing two military trials and one civilian one but in none of them has he been charged with treason. (ANI)

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