Canada Deports Former LTTE Cadre As Does Britain In Recent Times Where Appeals Are Rejected Indicative Of A Positive Stance.
Posted on September 29th, 2011
Insight By Sunil Kumar
It used to be a case of lies, innuendo and fabrications presented by clever albeit crooked defence attorneys in many parts of the world which often was the redemption of terrorists and criminals on the run seeking havens in places which tolerated them. It was a shameful practice which was time imemorial going back to the great wars and perhaps much further and a consternation to those who saw it as an aberration of justice and righteousness but not so today particularly in the case of Tamil Tiger terrorists and their consorts who wreaked havoc on Sovereign Sri Lanka for almost three decades!
The latest actions by Canada and the UK are beginning to prove this as more and more terrorists are deported back to Sri Lanka to face the charges against them and their part in the internal armed insurrection which almost tore Sri Lanka apart where unscrupulous lawyers are denied their false claims and perhaps a sign of the times and a good one at that.
In a recent report highlighted in the National Post of Canada where a man who worked as a tax collector in the Tamil Tigers’ finance department while the terrorist group engaged in crimes against humanity, it is exactly this. He has been branded a war criminal and ordered out of Canada in a court ruling that holds office clerks just as culpable as the armed insurgents they support in whatever capacity in a no nonsense ruling which should flush out and mete the same action of deportation or greater punishment as there are many more such individuals in hiding as research seems to indicate and there should be no sympathies granted to such.
The story of Puvanesan Thurairajah, 36, a citizen of Sri Lanka and of Tamil ethnicity is a prime example. Before coming to Canada, he is known to have worked for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) with proven records towards this reality. The LTTE being a group on Canada’s official list of designated terrorist organizations has been the prima facie reckoning towards the court ruling. It has not swayed The Federal Court of Canada despite the pleas of the defence which typical of the objective to grant reprieve by misleading through fabricated circumstances which have a note of sob story written all over it as in every such situation where clever defence attorneys try to sway court decisions but the official tone seems to be changing as the law gets tougher on a very positive note.
At the court hearing which resulted in his deportation, the following deposition was made by him according to excerpts from the National Post quoted earlier and compiled with comments added.
After finishing school in northern Sri Lanka, the deportee has indicated that he worked in a factory in Jaffna which was charged a forcible extortion fee by the LTTE and when Tigers came to collect they tried to recruit him and that he refused. In late 1992, the LTTE are alleged to have taken him to a camp located in a place called Chankani by force, beaten him and threatened to kill him, where the man after being held for three weeks, eventually agreed to work for them. Having worked in the records office at an LTTE camp in Tinnevelly for a year he had been promoted to the finance department at the camp in Chankanai for two years, where he was responsible for collecting extortion monies for the Tigers, which funded the civil war whose funding also came from a vast global network of contributors towards the insurrection.
While working in these camps he was always allowed to go home in the evenings, court heard. He is purported to have stopped working for the LTTE when the Sri Lankan army won control of the Jaffna peninsula. In 2000, on a trip to the capital Colombo, he was arrested and accused of supporting the Tigers. He was released after six days after paying a bribe he says and eventually fled to Britain where his claim for asylum was rejected. Perhaps at that stage the British authorities too drew similar conclusions to Canada
In 2007, he arrived in Canada using a fake Canadian passport, settled in Montreal and claimed refugee protection.That claim was rejected by the Immigration & Refugee Board (IRB) after an adjudicator found reasonable grounds to believe he committed a war crime or crime against humanity under Article 1F of the United Nations’ convention on refugees.
Thurairajah then appealed that decision in court backed by his attorneys, arguing it was unreasonable to hold him to account for the actions of a group he was forced to join suggesting that “The position he held within the Finance Department for the Tigers was by and large negligible. He never carried a weapon or participated in the commission of crimes against humanity,” as recorded in court documents.
His plea however drew little judicial support and was documented as “An exclusion based on Article 1F of the Convention, a serious matter which could affect the refugee claimant for the rest of his life,” which Justice Luc Martineau acknowledged where the decision in all probabilities was relative to the reprehensibilities with which the world viewed terrorism and incorporated in the laws of each country affected.
Justice Martineau has written in conclusion that “The applicant had admitted that the Tigers participated in many crimes against humanity and that they are an organization directed to a limited, brutal purpose,” “The [IRB] panel found the Tigers committed crimes against humanity at the time when the applicant belonged to it; that is, between 1992 and 1995…. “The collection of taxes financing the Tigers cannot be qualified as a negligible or passive participation in the organization,” The panel at the conclusion of the verdict found the applicant to be complicit in crimes committed by the Tigers.”
Justice Martineau has consequently found the IRB’s decision to be reasonable.
Mr. Thurairajah’s lawyer Myriam Harbec has been quoted as saying” she was disappointed with the decision but not entirely surprised. No matter what involvement they had with the LTTE, that’s the way the Federal Court is thinking right now. But in Sri Lanka and in some African countries, people were forced to cooperate with these groups.”, end quote, at a media interview where many judgements in the past, at similar hearings
have been in favour of the refugee claimamant and if not, in many cases subsequently overturned on appeal and some with terrorist links walk free!
Since the coming to power of the Conservatives led by the Hon.Mr Stephen Harper ably assisted towards the cause by the eminent Mr Stockwell Day, Canada’s stance towards tolerance of such cases seems to have toughened unlike the tolerances of previous governments particularly the Liberals who are even accused of been lenient to them and at times even partying with some of their fronts whether inadvertently or not.
Lately Britain too has adopted a similar toughness as groups with proven links to the LTTE are being systematically deported despite many attempts by appeal attorneys to restrain such orders which is a very positive sign that global terrorism will now be met head on with full force and deterrents applied. In this respect the world should also remember the tough stance taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to search and destroy the terrorist menace which plagued the country for decades!
Luc Labelle, spokesman for Canada Border Services Agency, declined to discuss the case, but said “crimes against humanity” cases are among the agency’s top priorities where the term however should not be used as a cliche towards false accusations against the legitimacies which entitle a Sovereign Nation to fight terrorism which sometimes comes back to haunt the accusers .