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Monks fast for Sri Lanka opposition leader release

 Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, supporters of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, parade in a street during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, S...
 Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, supporters of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, parade in a street during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, S...

Sri Lanka Election

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, supporters of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, parade in a street during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, S...

Sri Lanka Election

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, supporters of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, parade in a street during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, S...

Four Buddhist monks began a hunger strike Sunday, demanding the immediate release of the former army chief who was arrested after his failed bid for the presidency on an opposition ticket.
The arrest of Sarath Fonseka has been condemned by the opposition and human rights groups, who accuse the government of retaliating against a man who dared challenge President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his re-election bid. They say the government is trying to cow the opposition before April 8 parliamentary elections.
Despite his detention, Fonseka is running for a seat in parliament as the leader of the opposition Democratic National Alliance.
Rev. Wakamulle Uditha said that on Saturday the monks gave the government 24 hours to free Fonseka, who faces a court-martial.
With no word from the government, the monks began a "fast-unto-death" on Sunday. Uditha said they vowed to "continue it until he (Fonseka) is released."
Fonseka was arrested in February and is accused of preparing his presidential campaign while still in uniform and also breaching rules in purchasing military hardware. He has denied the charges.
Rajapaksa and Fonseka were once strong allies in their campaign to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels and end their 25-year armed campaign for an independent state. After routing the rebels last May, both men were hailed as heroes by the country's Sinhalese majority.
But the two quickly turned on each other and Fonseka quit the army to lead the opposition.


Updated : 2021-05-16 14:34 GMT+08:00