Tamil Tigers’ British chief faces terror charges

LONDON, January 28, 2009 (AFP) – The chief of the Tamil Tiger rebels in Britain helped supply military equipment to the Sri Lankan separatist group, a London court heard Wednesday. Laidlaw added that Chrishanthakumar had headed the United Tamil Organisation in Britain before it became outlawed in 2001.

The LTTE, which is fighting for a separate Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka, is designated a terrorist organisation under British law.

The rebels have been fighting to carve out an independent homeland for the Tamil minority since 1972. Tens of thousands have died on both sides in the conflict in the Sinhalese-majority nation. Prosecutors alleged that 52-year-old Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, also known as AC Shanthan, led the acquisition of funding and materials bound for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Chrishanthakumar appeared at Kingston Crown Court in London charged with five offences, ranging from receiving electrical devices for terrorism, possessing terrorist documents, and belonging to a banned organisation.

Three others — Jegatheswaran Muraleetharan, also known as Muralee Tharan, 46 and his brother Jeyatheswaran Vythyatharan, a