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 Post subject: 2 Australians charged with funding Tamil Tigers
 Post Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 3:59 pm 
2 Australians Face Terror Charges

Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, were arrested in raids in the southern city of Melbourne after a two-year police investigation, authorities said.

Tuesday May 1, 2007 10:46 AM
Source: Guardian Unlimited ©


MELBOURNE, Australia - Police on Tuesday arrested two men accused of raising money for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on the pretext of collecting donations for victims of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, were arrested in raids in the southern city of Melbourne after a two-year police investigation, authorities said.

They were charged with belonging to, financing and otherwise supporting a terrorist organization and face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

The suspects provided the rebels with electronic and marine equipment as well as money, prosecutor Mark Dean said.

But there was no evidence the men were planning an attack in Australia, said senior federal counterterrorism officer Frank Prendergast.

Along with the United States, Australia considers the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the rebels are formally known, to be terrorists.

``Tsunami relief appeals were used as a vehicle for some of the fundraising,'' he said.

Sri Lanka was among the hardest-hit of a dozen countries struck by killer waves churned up by an undersea earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004.

At least 35,000 Sri Lankans were among the 230,000 people killed in the disaster, including many in the Tamil-controlled northeast.

The Tigers have been fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority since 1983, following years of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. The conflict has killed at least 69,000 people. A 2002 cease-fire brought a brief respite, but fighting has increased steadily since 2005.


Terror suspects 'used tsunami charity'

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
By Reko Rennie , May 1, 2007


Police are refusing to rule out further arrests after apprehending two Melbourne men accused of raising money for a terrorist organisation via a tsunami relief charity.

Officers have charged a Mount Waverley man, 32, and a Vermont South man, 36,with three offences relating to being a member of a terrorist organisation and making funds available to a terrorist organisation. They are expected to face court this afternoon.

The arrests followed raids today across Melbourne and in Sydney as part of a two-year joint investigation by the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police into claims charity groups were raising funds for Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - or Tamil Tigers.

Police conducted 10 raids on premises in Melbourne's east - at Vermont, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Dandenong, East Burwood - and in the Sydney suburbs of Toongabbie and Parramatta.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said the men were accused of running a tsunami relief appeal to raise funds for the Tamil Tigers, allegedly duping people out of a substantial amount of money.

He said police would allege the men actively raised funds with the knowledge some of the money would be diverted to the Tamil Tigers to conduct operations in Sri Lanka.

If found guilty, the men face a maximum of 25 years in jail.

AFP National Counter Terrorism Manager Frank Prendergast said there was no evidence the men were planning terrorism activities in Australia.

"It will be alleged in court that these men are members of an organisation engaging in terrorist activity overseas and they have been providing active, material support to that group," he said.

He refused to rule out making further arrests following today's raids.

Commissioner Prendergast said the investigation began in January 2005 after police received information from the public.

The Tamil Tigers have been waging a bloody secessionist campaign against the Sri Lankan Government since the 1970s.

Since 1983, there has been an on-off civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Government, which has killed about 64,000 people and displaced 1 million. The origins of the violence go back to the island's independence from Britain in 1948.


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 Post subject: Terror case 'unique'
 Post Posted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:36 pm 
Terror case 'unique'

Mr Yathavan is accused of buying 185 marine hydraulic steering units, similar to those used in a suicide attack that killed 17 Sri Lankan soldiers in May last year.

Kate Uebergang
May 09, 2007


TWO Melbourne men accused of being members of a Sri Lankan terrorist group were refused bail yesterday.

Magistrate Ian Gray said geo-political factors in the case against Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, were "utterly unique" but did not amount to exceptional circumstances that warranted bail.

Mr Gray said there was a reasonably strong circumstantial case against the pair, but said the men's denials and explanations "may be thought to be credible".

Mr Vinayagamoorthy and Mr Yathavan were arrested on May 1 and accused of being members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, otherwise known as the Tamil Tigers.

Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard the pair raised money and provided resources for terrorist activities in Sri Lanka between July 2002 and May this year.

The court was told the fundraising was under the guise of tsunami humanitarian aid to Tamils.

The prosecution alleged Mr Vinayagamoorthy spent $97,000 on 3500 electronic transmitters and receivers that could be used in explosives.

He also allegedly had access to bank accounts with $526,000 between August 2001 and December 2005, with $240,000 transferred overseas.

Mr Yathavan is accused of buying 185 marine hydraulic steering units, similar to those used in a suicide attack that killed 17 Sri Lankan soldiers in May last year.

Prosecutor Mark Dean, SC, told the court on Monday that the men had access to large amounts of cash and had secret methods of travel.

The men's lawyers said they were law-abiding Australians who denied raising funds for terrorism.

Refusing bail, Mr Gray said there was strong enough concern that the men would flee if they were released.

The men are being held in special custody at the Melbourne Assessment Prison, with reduced hours outside their cells.

Mr Vinayagamoorthy, of Mt Waverley, and Mr Yathavan, of Vermont South, both face three charges including being a member of a terrorist organisation and making funds and resources available to a terrorist organisation.

Mr Gray remanded the men in custody to appear in court again on July 24.


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