Tardiness of probe into Lasantha’s killing etc made Leader back SFat presidential polls – Frederica
White Flag Trial
October 12, 2010, 9:24 pm
by Jayantha De Silva
In the run up to the presidential election, the UNP paid The Sunday Leader and The Irudina Publications one million rupees per a week and when the CID raided The Sunday Leader press, they had recovered copies of the Mahinda Chintanaya, which the publishers had also undertaken to print.
This was revealed yesterday by overnight witness Frederica Jansz, Editor of The Sunday Leader, in her testimony before the ‘White Flag’ Trial-at-Bar against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.
Defence Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty appearing for Sarath Fonseka alleged that the notebook of witness Jansz, in the custody of the Court, had been tampered with since the thickness of a page looked different to the other pages.
At this stage, Deputy Solicitor General Wasantha Navaratne Bandara said that he had no objections to forwarding the note book to the Government Analyst to obtain a report.
The Trial-at-Bar comprising Deepali Wijesundera (President), W. T. M. P. Warawewa and A. Z. Razeen allowed an application by the Counsel to install a television given by a donor in the room, where the accused is held in solitary confinement. In this case former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is indicted on three counts with violating the Public Security and Emergency Regulations Acts through an interview, in an article published in The Sunday Leader newspaper on December 13 last year, alleging that an illegal order had been issued by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Brigadier Shavendra Silva to shoot and kill LTTE cadres surrendering with white flags, during the final stages of the separatist war.
Questioned by Counsel Ladduwahetty whether The Sunday Leader supported the candidature of Fonseka for any monetary gains, Jansz replied she got to know about the deal from UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
In reply to another query, she said that due to the slow progress of investigations into the killing of former Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and due to litigation against The Sunday Leader publications, the management had decided to support the candidature of Sarath Fonseka.
The witness also said Lal Wickrematunga had not been present at the interview that she had had with accused Fonseka.
Cross examined by the Counsel on whether it was morally right to support a candidate at the Presidential election, she replied that it was a decision by the management which had nothing to do with her. "For me, only the interview was important," she said.
When further questioned, she said a trainee, Rajneesh, had taken down the notes while she conducted the interview and the interview had been published under the trainee’s byline.
The trial will resume today (13).
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