No move to sack Defence Secretary

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Despite mounting pressure, President Maithripala Sirisena has no intention of removing Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, the President’s office said.

President’s media spokesman Dharmasri Ekanayake said that a speech made by the Defence Secretary, which drew controversy, had been taken out of context.

He said that Fernando had not made any statement against the Army, and had been misquoted by some media to give the wrong impression to the public and the statement as a whole was not made to criticize the troops.

“Therefore there was no necessity for the President to remove the Defence Secretary from office even though several opposition MPs urged him to do so,” the President’s office said.

Speaking at a felicitation ceremony hosted by Nalanda College last week, the Defence Secretary has stated that 11 soldiers would be prosecuted in the next two weeks over a high profile murder case.

He also requested the diaspora to submit evidence on crimes committed by any military personnel.
He has further noted that no military personnel were above the law of the country, and if any soldier commits a crime, he would be tried before a court of law and meted with maximum punishment.

Following the statement, opposition Parliamentarians Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gamanpila had requested the President to remove Hemasiri Fernando from his post.