Tamil Tigers face jail for up to 16 years in The Netherlands

Courtesy of The Australian, 29 September 2011

 Pro-Tiger demo in London, mid 2009 -Web-Editor’s Files


A Sri Lankan protester outside the Canadian High Commission kicks the symbol of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Colombo in May 2009 —  Source: AFP

DUTCH prosecutors yesterday asked for jail sentences of between 10 and 16 years for five suspected Tamil Tigers for aiding the Sri Lankan rebel movement from The Netherlands, including collecting funds.  “We are asking for long sentences. The suspects were consciously involved in an international terrorist organisation,” prosecutor Ward Ferdindessen said in the indictment.

The prosecution asked for three sentences spanning a decade each, a 12-year sentence and a 16-year sentence. “If we are demanding heavy penalties . . . it’s for the future, so that it won’t happen again,” Mr Ferdindessen said.

The five defendants are accused of having collected money and information for the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers, which since 2006 has been listed by the EU as a terrorist organisation. The men are charged with organising illegal lotteries, falsely asking for subsidies for “humanitarian purposes” from Dutch municipalities and threatening the Sri Lankan community in The Netherlands.

Prosecutors said that, by extension, the men were responsible for the LTTE’s actions such as the recruitment of child soldiers and murder. Arrested in April and June last year as part of a probe in The Netherlands into the activities of the banned LTTE, the five have lived in the country for “a long time and have Dutch nationality”, prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin said.

Defence lawyer Victor Kopp called the prosecution’s demand disproportionate to the facts, saying he was shocked. Judgment is expected in the second half of next month.


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