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    Sarath Fonseka promoted Sri Lanka's first ever Field Marshal Featured

    March 23, 2015

    Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday (22) promoted the former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka to the rank of Field Marshal at a special function held at the Defence Ministry ground.

    Sarath Fonseka, who is credited with leading the Sri Lankan Army to secure victory against the Tamil Tiger terrorists and eliminating the terrorist group, will be the first ever Field Marshal in Sri Lankan military history.

     

    General Sarath Fonseka joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1970 and saw extensive action throughout the 26-year civil war, culminating in a term as Commander of the Army from 6 December 2005 - 15 July 2009.

     

    He led the final phase of the war against terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) culminating in the total elimination of the terrorist group and three-decade long terrorism. During his tenure as Army Commander, Fonseka also survived an assassination attempt when an LTTE suicide bomber attacked his motorcade in April 2006.

     

    Following the end of the war General Sarath Fonseka was promoted to a four star rank in the Sri Lanka Army, becoming the first serving officer to hold a four star rank. He was later appointed Chief of Defence Staff by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

     

    The former Army Commander retired from the Army to contest as a common opposition presidential candidate against the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 2010 presidential election. Fonseka lost the presidential race to the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa with a wide margin of 18 percent. Following his loss, he was arrested on 8 February 2010 by the military allegedly for conspiring to overthrow the government by staging a coup with the assistance of Army officers loyal to him.

     

    The former General faced two court martial tribunals on several charges and he was stripped off the ranks and the pension by a verdict of the first court martial which found him guilty of participating in political activities while in active service.

     

    Following his defeat in the Presidential Election he was elected to Parliament from Democratic National Alliance, the party he led, in the General Election in April 2010. He lost his parliamentary seat after he was sentenced to serve a three year prison sentence by the Military Court. After serving more than 2 years in prison, Fonseka was released on 21 May 2012 on a presidential pardon.

     

    However, Fonseka was fully pardoned by the new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in January this year and restored all his military ranks and civic rights.

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