Long sentences asked for Dutch Tamil Tiger fundraisers

27th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch prosecutors Tuesday asked for jail sentences between 10 to 16 years against five suspected Tamil Tigers for aiding the Sri Lankan rebel movement from the Netherlands, including collecting funds.

"We are asking for long sentences. The suspects were consciously involved in an international terrorist organisation," prosecutor Ward Ferdindessen said in the indictment.

The prosecution asked for three sentences spanning a decade each, a 12-year sentence and a 16-year sentence, with Ferdindessen saying "if we are demanding heavy penalties... it's for the future, so it won't happen again."

The five defendants are accused of having collected money and information for the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), known as the Tamil Tigers, listed since 2006 by the European Union as a terrorist organisation.

The men are charged with organising illegal lotteries, asking for subsidies for "humanitarian purposes" from Dutch municipalities and threatening the Sri Lankan community in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors said by extension, the men were responsible for the LTTE's actions like the recruitment of child soldiers and murder.

Arrested in April and June last year as part of a probe in the Netherlands into the activities of the banned LTTE, the five have lived in the country for "a long time and have Dutch nationality", national prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP.

But defence lawyer Victor Kopp called the prosecution's demand disproportionate to the facts, saying he was very shocked.

Judgement is expected in the second half of October.

The LTTE battled for decades for a homeland for the ethnic Tamil minority, in an armed struggle that killed some 100,000 people, according to UN estimates.

© 2011 AFP

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