Ex-Sri Lankan minister Wimal Weerawansa fasts, seeks release
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's former Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, currently in prison on allegations of misusing state vehicles, has begun a hunger strike demanding his release.
Weerawansa, a strong ally of former President Mahinda Rajapakse, was arrested on January 10 over allegations of misusing state vehicles during the former Rajapakse regime, reports Xinhua news agency.
This caused a loss of 91 million Sri Lankan rupees ($599,000) to the state.
A spokesperson for the former minister said Weerawansa's arrest was a political witchhunt and he had started a hunger strike in prison after his bail application was rejected by a high court on Tuesday.
Prison authorities confirmed Weerawansa had refused to have his breakfast on Wednesday and they were monitoring the situation.
This is the second time Weerawansa has gone on hunger strike.
The former minister launched a "fast unto death" campaign in 2010 outside the UN office in Colombo demanding that former UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon dissolve a three-member panel looking into human rights abuses in the final stages of the war against Tamil Tigers that ended in 2009.
He ended his fast four days later after then President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited him and gave him water.