A Sri Lankan military court on Friday stripped the country's war hero and former army chief Sarath Fonseka of his rank and medals after finding him guilty of dabbling in politics while in service.
The General was convicted by a three-member military court which began deliberations five months ago. The court verdict has to be ratified by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the Sri Lankan media reported.
The court also ruled that the 59-year old General, who is now a Parliamentarian, be 'cashiered', which means he will be stripped of his rank, medals and decorations won during his 40-year long span in the Sri Lankan Army.
Fonseka is currently a Member of Parliament from the opposition Democratic National Alliance party though he remains under arrest. His supporters allege that these accusations are politically motivated. Fonseka has the right to appeal the verdict in a civilian court.
The General is also being tried by another court martial on charges of corruption in deals to procure military equipment for the army.
As a battlefield commander, Fonseka has been hailed by the Lankan media as the architect of the country's decisive military victory over the Tamil Tigers after a 37-year long insurgency.
Fonseka, who was once considered close to President Rajapaksa, later challenged him in the Presidential election in 2009. PTI