British court jails Tamil leader for helping Tigers

LONDON, June 12, 2009 (AFP) – A British Tamil leader convicted of supplying bomb-making equipment to Tamil Tiger rebels was jailed for two years by a court in London Friday, but the judge described him as a “thoroughly decent man.” “He is not merely a man of good character, he has done a great deal of good work for Tamils in this country.”

During the trial, prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw said that police became aware in 2004 that Chrishanthakumar was buying military clothing and equipment intended for shipment to rebel forces in Sri Lanka.

The material was found to include computers, printed circuit boards, remote control equipment, radio transmission components and satellite equipment.

Officers did not arrest him at the time, but told him to cease the activity. Chrishanthakumar claimed he was trying to help poor farmers.

Three years later, police carried out a search of his home and “despite the warning when the police became aware of that activity, he had continued with his support activity on the LTTE’s behalf,” Laidlaw said.

He added that Chrishanthakumar had headed the United Tamil Organisation in Britain before it became outlawed in 2001. The LTTE is designated a terrorist organisation under British law.