தேர்தல் முடிவுகள் 2010 Presidential Election Results - 2010

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"பணம் கொடுக்க மறுத்ததால் எனது தந்தையை விடுதலைப்புலிகள் கொலைசெய்தனர்" அமெரிக்க நீதிமன்றில் தமிழர் வாக்குமூலம்

Convicted Tamil says LTTE murderedfather
Arrested In 2006; Toronto man procured weapons for Tigers: U. S.

Stewart Bell, National Post

A Toronto man who will be sentenced in the United States next month for procuring weapons for the Tamil Tigers rebels described in court documents how those same rebels murdered his father.

Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam, 43, said in a sentencing memorandum in U.S. District Court that he fled to Canada after the Tamil Tigers took away his father and shot him eight times for refusing to give them money.

Mr. Thanigasalam did not explain why, while living in Canada years later, he would take part in an illicit conspiracy to buy black market weapons for the very rebel group that had killed his father.

But the memorandum portrays Mr. Thanigasalam as a man traumatized by Sri Lanka's brutal civil war, who spent his youth in temporary camps and was detained, beaten and tortured by both sides in the conflict.

The married father of two is asking the court for no more than the 25-year minimum sentence, as is Sahilal Sabaratnam, another Canadian convicted on the same charges. Prosecutors are seeking sentences of up to life in prison.

The men are among six Canadians arrested by the FBI and RCMP in 2006 after they allegedly tried to buy 500 AK-47 assault rifles and ten SA-18 heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles for the Tamil Tigers, separatist guerrillas who were then fighting for independence from Sri Lanka.

The rebels, also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, were wiped out by government forces in May. Last week, a Tamil nationalist was arrested in Toronto after giving a fiery speech in which he called for the resumption of the war. A Toronto Buddhist temple used by Sri Lankans was torched the next night.

U.S. officials have depicted Mr. Thanigasalam as the technical expert of the group, and allege he had sought missiles that could shoot down the Kfir fighter jets used by the Sri Lankan military.

Mr. Sabaratnam, 30, immigrated to Canada at age nine, studied commerce at Carleton University and later worked at TD Waterhouse in Toronto. He was allegedly in charge of paying for the weapons.

But his lawyer argued that Mr. Sabaratnam was a "last minute participant" in the conspiracy, and had only become involved at the request of his brother-in-law.

"Without a doubt, Sahil made the worst decision of his life and, in turn, has forfeited his liberty, future, hopes and dreams and extinguished hopes and dreams of his parents, family members and fiancee," Bobbi Sternheim wrote.

The pair is to be sentenced on Jan. 12. Another Canadian, Sathajhan Sarachandran, the former president of the Canadian Tamil Students Association, is to be sentenced Jan. 11. All three pleaded guilty. Three more Canadians are awaiting extradition to the U.S.

Asked why Mr. Thanigasalam would support the rebels after they killed his father, his lawyer Lee Ginsberg said, "I can't explain it. I'm not sure my client can explain it.

"If you want my view for what it's worth, it wouldn't surprise me if there are many Tamils who were upset with the way the LTTE was operating in Sri Lanka and had family members displaced because of them.

"On the other hand there are sympathies with the general proposition that the Tamil people were being repressed and other things, and I think it falls somewhere in that category."


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Velupillai Prabhakaran

The rest of the world might never understand the violence Velupillai Prabhakaran stood for, but its imprint on Sri Lanka is wide and deep. For 26 years, the elusive leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had waged war with the government to win an independent homeland, or eelam, for the island's Tamil minority. The struggle claimed more than 70,000 lives--including, on May 18, Prabhakaran's. The government says he was killed, along with 17 of his trusted lieutenants, while fleeing an army ambush.

Prabhakaran, 54, was born to a middle-class family on the Jaffna Peninsula. Incensed by discrimination against Tamils and radicalized by a militant grade-school teacher, Prabhakaran founded the LTTE in 1976, a year after a group he headed claimed responsibility for killing Jaffna's mayor. By 1983 the guerrilla movement--which pioneered suicide bombings and the recruitment of child soldiers--escalated the fighting into a civil war.

At the height of his power earlier this decade, Prabhakaran led a de facto government that controlled vast swaths of territory and boasted its own systems of taxes, roads and courts. As the army closed in, he allegedly used thousands of Tamil civilians as human shields. By the final days, just 250 LTTE members remained. They died too, along with the dream of eelam.

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