Sri Lanka`s imprisoned former Army Commander, parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka, never retracted his `white flag` story that accused the Defence Secretary of ordering the Army`s top brass to kill the senior LTTE leaders surrendering with white flags to security forces during the final stages of the war, a newspaper editor told the courts today.
Appearing on the witness stand for a second day Wednesday (06) during the trial against the former Commander and the then Chief of Defence Staff, Ms. Frederica Jansz, the chief editor of the English weekly Sunday Leader, told the Colombo High Court that Fonseka never retracted the statement and he had repeatedly confirmed the statement.
The Editor`s notebook containing the information has been presented to the High Court.
Ms. Jansz told the three-member bench of the High Court that the Sunday Leader carried the story on December 13, 2009 as a top story on leader page.
Following the publication of the story, Ms. Jansz said she rejected a request by the parliamentarians Mangala Samaraweera and Anura Kumara Dissanayake to publish a correction as the story would be damaging to Fonseka`s election bid for the presidency.
Ms. Jansz said a clarification was published on the 20th of December in the newspaper at the request of Fonseka.
In his clarification, Fonseka has said that not a single LTTE leader with white flags surrendered to the forces even though an order has been issued by the Defence Secretary to shoot them but the LTTE leaders had died during the battle.
Even in this clarification, Fonseka never denied the initial statement made by him on the white flag incident, the witness said.
The Sunday Leader Editor told the court Fonseka first told her on December 12 that got the information about the white flag story from a journalist who was with the 58 Division of the Sri Lanka Army of which Major General (then Brigadier) Shavendra Silva was the Commander.
However Fonseka has not motioned that during her initial interview with him on December 8th, she emphasized.
The court examined the Sunday Leader Editor`s notebook containing the relevant notes. The trial was adjourned until Monday, October 11.