Ottawa Citizen

Ter­ror sus­pects ex­tra­dited to U.S.

Sus­pected Tamil Tigers in­clude Ot­tawa stu­dent

- DOU­GLAS QUAN Crime · Terrorism · White-collar Crime · Canada News · Discrimination · Human Rights · Society · United States of America · Ontario · Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam · Brooklyn · New York · Justice Ministry · Loretta E. Lynch · New York City · Sri Lanka · Waterloo · Wilfrid Laurier · Ottawa · University of Ottawa · U.S. Supreme Court · Supreme Court of Canada · Rob Nicholson · Nicholson, Georgia · Lynch · Hyde United F.C. · Sri Lankan government · Tiger

Two On­tario men have been ex­tra­dited to the United States to face ter­ror­ism-re­lated charges, cap­ping a six-year le­gal bat­tle in Canada.

Suresh Sriskan­dara­jah and Pi­ratheepan Nadara­jah, who are ac­cused of pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to the Lib­er­a­tion Tigers of Tamil Ee­lam, were ar­raigned Thurs­day in a fed­eral court in Brook­lyn, N.Y., and pleaded not guilty to the charges. If con­victed, the men face max­i­mum sen­tences of 25 years to life in prison.

Ear­lier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada dis­missed a claim by the pair that Canada’s ter­ror­ism laws in­fringed on their con­sti­tu­tional rights. It also ruled that Jus­tice Min­is­ter Rob Ni­chol­son did not err when he or­dered that the pair sur­ren­der to the United States.

Their ex­tra­di­tion was an­nounced Thurs­day in a news re­lease by Loretta Lynch, U.S. at­tor­ney for the east­ern District of New York.

Nadara­jah, 36, is ac­cused of con­spir­ing and at­tempt­ing to ac­quire $1 mil­lion worth of anti-air­craft mis­siles, mis­sile launch­ers and other equip­ment in sup­port for the Lib­er­a­tion Tigers of Tamil Ee­lam — or Tamil Tigers — deemed in Canada and the U.S. to be a ter­ror­ist group.

The Tigers had been en­gaged in a lengthy civil war with the Sri Lankan government un­til their de­feat in 2009.

Sriskan­dara­jah, 32, is ac­cused of con­spir­ing to pro­vide ma­te­rial sup­port to the Tamil Tigers, in­clud­ing help­ing the group’s chief pro­cure­ment of­fi­cer to re­search and ac­quire avi­a­tion equip­ment, sub­ma­rine and war­ship de­sign soft­ware and com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment. He is also ac­cused of us­ing stu­dents as couri­ers to smug­gle pro­hib­ited items into Tamil Tiger-con­trolled ter­ri­to­ries in Sri Lanka, as well as help­ing the group laun­der its pro­ceeds.

The men were in­dicted fol­low­ing an FBI op­er­a­tion that saw an un­der­cover of­fi­cer pose as a black-mar­ket arms dealer.

“Th­ese two de­fen­dants were part of the cy­cle of so­phis­ti­cated arms and large sums of money that fu­elled their ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Lynch said, adding that they would “stop at noth­ing” to achieve their goals.

A spokesman from her of­fice said a judge or­dered that the pair re­main in cus­tody. How­ever, their de­fence lawyers sig­nalled their in­tent to make bail ap­pli­ca­tions at a hear­ing next month.

Sriskan­dara­jah re­port­edly has de­grees from the Univer­sity of Water­loo and Wil­frid Lau­rier Univer­sity in On­tario, and was most re­cently study­ing law at the Univer­sity of Ot­tawa. Nadara­jah had been liv­ing in Bramp­ton, Ont.

The pair and a third man, con­victed Ot­tawa ter­ror­ist Momin Khawaja, had tried to ar­gue be­fore the Supreme Court of Canada that this coun­try’s anti-ter­ror­ism laws should be struck down be­cause they de­fined ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity too broadly and vi­o­lated the con­sti­tu­tional right to free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

But in a unan­i­mous rul­ing Dec. 14, the Supreme Court re­jected the men’s claims.

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