A Statement by the Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera, the Bishop of Colombo
Having just returned to the country from travel overseas I wish to express my disapproval and disappointment with the recent sentence and imprisonment of Gen. Sarath Fonseka.
Today it is evident to many citizens that Gen. Fonseka has been denied the opportunity of a fair trial as well as the due process of law and it is this breach of the law that needs to be rectified. Consequently what Gen. Fonseka needs is not pardon but justice.
Such a recourse to justice through an impartial legal process is imperative not because Gen. Fonseka is a former Army Commander or because of his military prowess; he is entitled to this right as a citizen of the Country. If he is thereafter found to be guilty he must be dealt with under the same impartial legal process and the people will be required to accept such a judgment.
However serious the Gen. Fonseka issue may be, it should not be viewed in isolation. It is just one high profile case of what has happened to less prominent and forgotten persons who having been deprived access to the due process of law, languish in prison and detention centres. They too require immediate justice.
A growing culture of arbitrary rewards and punishments has brought us all to a critical cross road in the political history of our beloved Country. The Government is fast losing credibility as the authority chosen by the people to safeguard the rights of its citizens and ensure justice for all. The opposition; in disarray and obsessed with its own power struggles is unable to make a difference on behalf of the people. These trends reached a tragic climax when the 18th amendment was enacted by Parliament.
Consequently, to call for justice for Gen. Fonseka requires a call for justice for all. Such a stance will eventually restore the integrity of our Nation.
With Peace and Blessings to all.