Canadian court sentences LTTE fundraiser to 6-month in jail

Clamping down on terrorist funding, a Canadian Court has sentenced a Tamil Tiger fundraiser to six months in jail after the man pleaded guilty to raising funds in the country to help support the rebels in Sri Lanka.

Toronto: Clamping down on terrorist
funding, a Canadian Court has sentenced a Tamil Tiger
fundraiser to six months in jail after the man pleaded guilty
to raising funds in the country to help support the rebels in
Sri Lanka.

The court in Vancouver sentenced Tamil-Canadian
Prapaharan Thambithurai, 46, for raising funds for a banned
terrorist organisation. He was the first person to be
charged under new Canadian legislation against financing
foreign terrorist organisations.

"This is a serious offence," Justice Robert Powers of
the British Columbia Supreme Court said and observed that it
had done "great harm to all Sri Lankans" by promoting violence
by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"The jail sentence was intended to send a message to
Thambithurai and others who raise funds. Fanatics would not be
deterred, no matter how harsh the sentence," the judge said.

The LTTE was crushed by the Sri Lankan government
forces in May last year after a protracted battle in which its
entire top leadership, including the supremo Velupillai
Prabhakaran were killed.

The judge rejected prosecution plea for a two-year
sentence and also turned down defence lawyers request for a
suspended sentence.

Police arrested Thambithurai in 2008 in Vancouver, he
was carrying two donations of USD 300 and 600, 25 pledges of
support for a Tamil "uprising fund," and material promoting
the LTTE, including calendars and CDs.

The maximum sentence for fundraising for a banned
terrorist group is 10 years. The law does not set a minimum
sentence.

Thambithurai, who pleaded guilty to fundraising for a
banned terrorist organisation, sat expressionless in the
prisoner`s box and heard the ruling.

His wife, relatives and friends appeared stunned as
the judge announced the sentence. Thambithurai was then put in
handcuffs and a sheriff escorted him out of the courtroom.

Before sentencing, the court heard that Thambithurai
admitted to police that he collected USD 600 from a Burnaby
resident. He said he was collecting humanitarian aid for the
Tamil people.

The funds were to go to the World Tamil Movement,
which was not a banned organisation at that time.

Canada has recently come under pressure from countries
like India and Sri Lanka to act against pro-Khalistan and
pro-Tamil groups.

PTI

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