UK court convicts Tamil leader of aiding Sri Lanka separatists

[JURIST] A jury for a UK crown court convicted Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar Friday of supplying bomb-making materials to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive] a Sri Lankan separatist group. Chrishanthakumar was also convicted [BBC report] of receiving documents for the purpose of terrorism, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of receiving military equipment, receiving money, and belonging to the LTTE. The suspicions regarding Chrishanthakumar began in 2004 when UK police discovered he was sending computers, circuit boards, and other electronics to Sri Lanka [JURIST news archive]. But he was not arrested [BBC report] until 2007 when police searched his home and found evidence of his involvement with the LTTE. Chrishanthakumar maintained the electronics were sent to Sri Lanka to assist farmers.

The LTTE argue that the government of Sri Lanka must establish an independent ethnic state for Tamils within the current boundaries of Sri Lanka, a demand the government has rejected since the Tigers began an open rebellion in the 1970s. Additionally, the Sri Lankan government has refused to hold cease-fire negotiations with the LTTE, as it believes it is close to ending the country's 25 year civil war [BBC timeline] that has resulted in over 70,000 deaths. Human rights groups have accused both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE of committing human rights violations [JURIST report] by attacking civilians. In 2000, the New Terrorism Act [text] banned the LTTE in the UK.

 

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