Below are excerpts from DNA MP Sarath Fonseka’s speech made at a press conference in Parliament today.
“It is a sad situation for this country. Due to a wrong attitude and incompetence on the part of the Government, lawlessness has prevailed. This is not in the long term interests of the country. If there is no law and order, the people will not be safe. They will have nowhere to go to address their grievances. They will live under threat and be persecuted throughout.
It is clear that if you want to be safe, you must be a Government supporter, or go behind a Minister. Look at the arrest of our two MPs [Vijitha Herath and Anura Kumara Dissanayake]. They are meant to have rights, freedom of speech… these two innocent people were assaulted and put into jail. The media is frightened. There is no freedom. This is a dictatorship.
With regard to my situation… I was ‘abducted’ 6 months ago. This has tarnished the image of the country. This does not happen anywhere else. People have a bad impression of the country. My only crime was contesting the Presidential election after I retired [from the military]. Various stories have been made up about me, talk of coups and a conspiracy to topple the Government. Yes, I want to topple the Government, but through democratic means.
I am a victim. This was a one-sided verdict… I had no chance for a counsel to represent me. I will appeal the decision, but I don’t have faith in the system. There is no transparency. They have removed my pension, my rank, my medals… everything that I worked for for 40 years.
I didn’t expect anything in return. No money, nothing. It was an unimaginable victory we brought to the country. I only came out of it because I wanted to serve the people. Now this has made our army and the defence establishment the laughingstock of the world. It has brought a black mark to the country, and to the army. Norms and standards have been violated in order to give people childish satisfaction. This can only happen in primary schools. It has gone beyond that stage. When the people who are supposed to be statesmen are behaving like this, it is a bad situation.
Look at Kumar Pathmanathan… he was one of the most wanted culprits… but now he is treated like a VIP. I won’t be surprised if the Service Commissioner salutes KP soon and asks him for permission to go to the North. Perhaps he will soon be made a senior Defence Minister. I don’t want to hang him-some people say you should hang everyone- but you should follow legal procedure. You should not harass and intimidate the innocent.
We will go through the appeal proceedings, to the Court of Appeal, even the Supreme Court. But we know the ultimate result. No justice will be done- I’m 100% sure of that. I’m ready to face this. When I put on this new uniform I expected this to happen. And everything I predicted came true.
I am expecting to be disqualified as an MP soon. My ambition is not to be an MP forever, and get all the perks of this job. I have bigger ambitions and objectives. They will put me in jail soon. I know the psychology of the Defence Secretary. We know of these plans. They discuss them openly in the Cabinet meetings… how many years they will keep me in jail.”