British MPs seek to help lift ban LTTE

Some British MPs have backed a fresh bid by the overseas LTTE activists to seek a review of the British Anti-Terrorism Act of 2000 under which the then Labour Government proscribed the LTTE.

Government sources told The Island that the Diaspora move was gaining momentum in a post-LTTE era not only in the UK but also in several other EU member states.

Sources said MPs, Siobhain McDonagh and Joan Ryan had joined a public meeting with the theme, Proscription on Trial: The Tamil experience, Oct. 28 at Committee Room 12, House of Commons, where speakers demanded that the Tamil Diaspora should not be at the receiving end of British anti-terrorism law as in the case of Arumachalam Krishnakumar (Shanthan) serving a prison term for procuring items for the LTTE during the Norwegian-arranged ceasefire agreement. Speakers included Solicitor Matt Foot, lawyer Gareth Peirce and Jan Jananayagam for an organisation known as Tamils against Genocide.

A leaflet distributed by the organisers ahead of Wednesday’s meeting quoted the judge, who had sentenced Shanthan, as saying that he was bound under the laws to punish him though he believed Shanthan was ‘a thoroughly decent man’ and that he was central to negotiations for peace and resolution of the conflict. Sources said that the judge was also quoted as saying that providing support to the LTTE during the ceasefire Shanthan was doing nothing different to that of the British government, who were also providing aid to the LTTE.

An authoritative navy official told The Island that Shanthan had been the senior LTTE operative in charge of procurement in the UK. He said that equipment acquired by Shanthan had been used even to target ships as in the case of A 520 blown up at the Trincomalee harbour on the eve of elections to the Eastern Provincial Council.

Government sources said that the on-going campaign in the UK was led by the British Tamil Law Foundation. Sources said that they had linked the LTTE’s terrorism with Kurdish, Baloch and Palestinian campaign for self-determination. Among the speakers at Wednesday’s meeting at the House of Commons were Baloch leader Hyrbyair Marri and Kazim Aqpak of the Kurdish Federation, UK.

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