Friday, April 02, 2010

Sri Lanka: Australia convicts three LTTE cadres for supporting a terrorist organization

Source: Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

The Australian Supreme Court convicted three LTTE cadres, Vinayagamoorthy, 35, of Mount Waverley, Yathavan, 39, and Rajeevan, 44, to suspended prison terms for supporting a terrorist organization. They have each pleaded guilty to providing more than $1 million to the LTTE and Vinayagamoorthy also admitted providing the LTTE with electronic devices, at least one of which was used to make and detonate a bomb used in a terrorist attack.

Justice Paul Coghlan sentenced all three to be jailed for a year for providing more than $1 million to the LTTE and jailed Vinayagamoorthy for 18 months for providing the electronic devices.

But he then released all three on $1000 good-behaviour bonds. In Yathavan and Rajeevan's cases, for three years, and in Vinayagamoorthy's case for four years.

The suspects were secretly taped praising the use of suicide squads and child soldiers.

One of them, Vinayagamurthy, also allegedly provided the LTTE with enough electronic equipment to help make and remotely explode more than 500 bombs, reported The Herald Sun.

They provided the LTTE with electronic equipment and funds during the ceasefire agreement signed by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2002.

The Herald Sun stated that "Other evidence suggested more bombs were made and detonated using the almost $100,000 worth of electronic components Vinayagamoorthy bought in Australia and sent to Sri Lanka between 2003-05".

A two-year joint Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police investigation was able to positively link an electronic device sent by Melbourne man Aruran Vinayagamoorthy to a claymore mine later used in a Tamil Tiger terrorist attack in Sri Lanka.

Police who raided Sivarahah Yathavan's Vermont South home in 2005 found a video glorifying the activities of the Black Tigers, which was the LTTE commando unit responsible for suicide bombings, assassinations and suicide missions where the odds of coming back alive were slim.

Yathavan described Black Tiger suicide squad members as "great heroes" who knew they were going out to get killed and "they know that before they go and die".

"As for me, I have carried arms. I will do anything. Whatever the movement asks of me, I will do them all," Vinayagamoorthy was secretly recorded saying.

The maximum sentence for the charges they pleaded guilty to is five years. Those charges, laid under the Charter of the United Nations Act, makes it an offence to provide assets to a UN-proscribed entity, which the LTTE is, and didn't require the prosecution to prove the LTTE was a terrorist organisation.

All three were originally charged in 2007 with much more serious terrorism offences carrying sentences of 25 years, including that they were members of a terrorist organisation, provided support to a terrorist organisation and made funds available to a terrorist organisation.

Those charges were dropped last year, largely due the difficulty of proving the LTTE was a terrorist organisation when it wasn't officially declared as such by the Australian Government.

Other governments around the world did declare the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, including those of the US, Britain, Canada and the European Union.

Commonwealth prosecutor Mark Dean, SC, said Vinayagamoorthy, Yathavan and Rajeevan reported monthly to LTTE leaders and that the LTTE set a target for its Australian branch to send donations of at least $100,000 a month to Sri Lanka.

"The monies and the electronic components enabled the LTTE to conduct a terrorist insurgency in Sri Lanka," quoting Commonwealth prosecutor Mark Dean The Herald Sun reported.

"They were well known to the LTTE leadership in Sri Lanka, visited LTTE-held territory in Sri Lanka and carried out instructions given to them by the LTTE leadership.

"It is notorious, well known and clear that the LTTE has carried out numerous acts of terrorism in Sri Lanka, including the assassinations of heads of state of both Sri Lanka and India and numerous acts of terrorism that have resulted in the deaths of many thousands of civilians."

Courtesy : Policy Research & Information Unit of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka

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