Sri Lanka Tigers deny using satellite illegally

COLOMBO, April 13, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday rejected allegations that they were illegally using a commercial satellite to broadcast overseas. “We are accessing it legally and there is no signal piracy,” a spokesman for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Rasiah Ilanthiriyan, said by telephone from the rebel-held northern town of Kilinochchi.

A spokesman for Intelsat, the world’s largest commercial satellite communications provider, told AFP it was pursuing avenues to terminate what it said was the “illegal” use of one its satellites by the LTTE, which the US designates as a foreign terrorist organisation.

In March 2005, the Tigers announced they were using Europe Star 1 satellite, which has since been re-named Intelsat 12, or IS-12, to uplink their television programmes from a secret location in northern Sri Lanka and broadcast to parts of Asia.

It is not clear whether the Tigers access the satellite service through a proxy or on their own. The rebels declined to discuss their arrangement with the service provider, but insisted they had not done anything illegal. Intelsat also said it had met Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the