June 14, The Hague: Five members of the Tamil terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), believed to be the leaders of the organization in the Netherlands have been given sentences ranging from 10 to 16 years on appeal by the Public Prosecution Service (OM) in The Hague, Netherlands' Blik op Nieuws reported.
The five were charged for participating in international criminal and terrorist activities from 2003 to 2010. The prosecution says the five men are leaders of the Tamil Tigers in the Netherlands
The European Union in 2006 included LTTE in the list of terrorist organizations.
The suspects in the Netherlands organized meetings in which they glorified the violence used by the Tamil Tigers. They have made propaganda for the armed struggle in Sri Lanka and for its own Tamil state.
"It is vital that Dutch Tamil youth can grow without being brainwashed from birth to think that the ruthless violence of the Tamil Tigers is normal and should be supported," the prosecutor said.
The suspects have threatened Tamils living in the Netherlands and put under pressure to pay money to the LTTE with which they have bought weapons and explosives, according to the prosecutor.
"People who have fled their own country to live in freedom in the Netherlands cannot experience that freedom because they were forced by their own countrymen to pay," the prosecutor said.
According to the OM one of the five men held the international accounts of the Tamil Tigers in The Netherlands. The money was brought to Sri Lanka by cash couriers of the organization.
When sentencing takes into account the seriousness of the offenses and the circumstances in which the offense was committed. The defendants caused great suffering not only in the Netherlands, but also to the public in Sri Lanka with hundreds of fatal casualties in attacks , the prosecutor pointed out.
"The suspects, who lived in the Netherlands, have had the choice to strike a different path. A way of nonviolent protest against the abuses in Sri Lanka but they have chosen to support the violent conflict," the prosecutor said.
The court however, sentenced the defendants to prison terms from two to six years. Both the accused and the prosecution appealed against the ruling.