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* Australian court frees three LTTE supporters
Wed, Mar 31, 2010, 11:23 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 31, Colombo: An Australian court has set free three men who were charged with sending funds to the Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger terrorist group LTTE after pleading guilty to their charges.

The three Tamil men, Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 35, Sivarajah Yathavan, 39, and Arumugum Rajeevan, 44, pleaded guilty to providing over $1 million to the Tamil Tigers between 2002 and 2005.

The men have been arrested in 2007 by the Australian Federal Police following a two-year investigation.

The trio was earlier charged with the terrorism but the Australian prosecutors last year withdrew all terrorism charges against the three LTTE supporters. The men pleaded guilty in December last year to a lesser charge of providing funds to a terrorist organization.

Although LTTE is not banned in Australia, under the charter of the United Nations Act, Australian federal law makes it a criminal offence to funds to a terrorist organization banned either by the UN or by the Australian government.

Vinayagamoorthy also pleaded guilty to providing electronic equipment, including radio transmitters, used in bomb attacks in Sri Lanka.

Justice Paul Coghlan of Victorian Supreme Court today accepted the guilty pleas and sentenced Vinayagamoorthy to two years in jail but released him on a good behavior bond for four years.

Justice Coghlan senteenced Yathavan and Rajeevan to one year in jail and released on a good behavior bond for three years.

The judge has earlier criticized the Australian Federal Police over its handling of the investigation. The police were rapped for improperly arresting one of the suspects, Rajeevan and abusing his rights.


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