FRENCH COURT CONVICTS 21 MEMBERS OF THE LTTE FOR EXTORTING MONEY FROM THE TAMILS AND DISMANTLES THE FRONT ORGANIZATION
Posted on November 23rd, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

A French court convicted 21 members of the terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE)for extorting millions of Euros from the Tamil civilians living in France to bankroll an armed insurrection in Sri Lanka.

The toughest sentence was given to the alleged leader of the LTTE also known as Tamil Tigers in France, Nadaraja Matinthiran who masterminded the activities of the group in France.

In the case just concluded Matinthiran was accused of extorting five million Euros (7.4 million US Dollars) from the 75,000 strong Tamil Diaspora in France, many of whom had come to the country declaring themselves as refugees of the conflict in their home country.

In its verdict the court ordered the outfit known as the Coordinating Committee of Tamils in France , a front organization of the proscribed LTTE by the European Union be dismantled.

Matinthiran, the leader and 20 other defendants in the case appeared in the courts with their family members present in the courts.

Two more Tamil Tigers were sentenced to four years in the jail and a third was given six years. The others were sentenced to ranging from three and half years to six months suspended sentences. One defendant was acquitted.

The defendants were charged and convicted of having pressured Tamil families in Paris and the surrounding area to provide funds to support the LTTE’s armed campaign in Sri Lanka.

Most of the suspects were arrested in April 2007 and charged with criminal conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, financing of terrorism or racketeering to finance terrorism.

Experts believe, the court was told, the Tamil Tigers exert a controlling influence over the Diaspora, in many cases levying a “revolutionary tax” based on household size and income.

Sri Lankan government forces overran the Tigers’ last jungle holdout in the northeast in May, killed their top leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and other leaders ending their four-decade struggle for an independent Tamil homeland, one of Asia’s longest-running ethnic conflicts.

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