Dutch court jails five Tamil Tigers

Last Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 00:53

The Hague: Five members of Sri Lanka`s Tamil
Tigers were on Friday jailed for between two and six years for
having sent millions of euros gathered illegally in the
Netherlands to the rebel group.

The men, all of them Dutch nationals, were convicted of
having raised money mainly through illegal lotteries but also
through threats to members of the Sri Lankan community.
The separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
have since 2006 been on a European Union list of terrorist
organisations.

But the court decided not to follow prosecution calls for
heavier sentences of up to 16 years, saying it considered the
LTTE a banned organisation rather than a terrorist one.
Defence lawyer Viktor Koppe said the five would appeal.

"This judgement is incredibly contradictory," he argued.
"The LTTE is not a terrorist organisation but even so
they convict five men for having helped it," he added.

Dutch police arrested all five men in June 2010 after an
investigation into the Tamil Tiger organisation.
Government forces crushed the separatist LTTE in a major
offensive in 2009 that ended nearly four-decades of ethnic
bloodshed.

Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians may have been
killed by both sides.

The UN has estimated that up to 100,000 people were
killed in the LTTE`s armed struggle for a separate homeland
for the island`s ethnic Tamil minority between 1972 and May
2009.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 00:53

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