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LTTE supporters in Oz walk free after pleading guilty

world Updated: Mar 31, 2010 12:31 IST
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Three LTTE supporters who admitted providing over one million dollars in cash to the terror group were on Wednesday allowed to walk free by the Australian Supreme Court on bonds to be of good behaviour.

The Supreme Court was told an Australian-based charity was used as a cover to collect and send money to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Herald Sun reported today.

Tamil community newspaper editor Sivarajah Yathavan (39), Aruran Vinayagamoorthy (35) and 43-year-old Sydney accountant Arumugan Rajeevan each pleaded guilty to providing more than one million Australian dollars in cash to LTTE.

But Supreme Court judge Paul Coghlan freed all three men on bonds to be of good behaviour.

Vinayagamoorthy also pleaded guilty to making electronic components available to the Tamil Tigers. At least one of those components was used to make and detonate a bomb used in a terrorist attack in Sri Lanka, the report said.

Police had raided their homes in 2005 and had found photographic evidence linking some of them to the terrorist organisation's leader in Sri Lanka.

They discovered Vinayagamoorthy and Rajeevan had each been photographed with LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Police also found video footage of Rajeevan and Yathavan firing a machinegun on a Tamil Tiger gunboat in Sri Lanka during a demonstration of the group's firepower at sea.

LTTE leaders in Sri Lanka also granted Rajeevan and Yathavan access to one of their terrorist training camps in 2003 during a shaky ceasefire agreement between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government.

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.

Many governments around the world have declared the LTTE as a terrorist organisation.

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