Tuesday, May 1

More fundraisers arrested over alledged ties to Tamil Tigers

Last Wednesday federal officials arrested Karunakaran Kandasamy in Queens before handing him over to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn.

According to the complaint, Kandasamy was the leader of the Tamil Tigers' American branch, and in that role he was responsible for finding and channeling financial backing, logistical assistance and other material support.

Among other incidents, the complaint charges that Kandasamy organized fund-raising events at churches and public schools in Queens and New Jersey, with hundreds of people attending. The amount of money he raised has not been disclosed.

The arrest was the latest in a series involving alleged Tamil Tigers operatives in the United States. Eleven defendants have previously been indicted in connection to material support for the group, the district attorney's office said.

Today, we got word that two Melbourne men now face charges of passing fundraising money raised to help victims of the Tsunami to a group with alledged links to a terrorist group. The Age website reports that Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32 and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Both men are charged with three offences relating to being a member of a terrorist organisation, making funds available to a terrorist organisation and intentionally providing support or resources to a terrorist organisation.

The Australian Federal Police arrested the pair today following a series of raids today across Melbourne and in Sydney, but before the men faced court - the Police held a press conference announcing the arrests.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are not a proscribed terrorist organisation in Australia but it is illegal to provide funds to the group.

At a media conference yesterday, Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said some of the money was donated "under the banner of raising money for the (2004 Boxing Day) tsunami, for relief by the community".

The two year investigation looked into claims that charity groups were raising funds for Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - or Tamil Tigers.

The Tamil Tigers have been waging a bloody secessionist campaign against the Sri Lankan government since the 1970s. Since 1983, there has been an on-off civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the government, which it's estimated has killed around 64,000 people and displaced 1 million. The violence continues today.

1 comment:

a fundraiser said...

According to Bloomberg news:

The LTTE uses intimidation and violence to extort funds from Tamils living in countries such as Canada and the U.K., Human Rights Watch said in a March 2006 report.