Another Tamil arrested


Arumugam Rajeevan, an Australian cirizen of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, was arrested in Sydney on July 10 on terrorism charges. This follows the May 1 arrest of two Tamils in Melbourne on similar charges.

Rajeevan, who has been extradited to Melbourne, is charged with belonging to, and helping finance, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE is an organisation fighting for self-determination for the Tamil people, who are suffering discrimination and oppression at the hands of the racist Sri Lankan government. It is described as a "terrorist" movement by the Sri Lankan government and by Australian government ministers (though it is not on Australia's list of proscribed organisations). But as Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation volunteer Shan Kumar was quoted as saying in the July 12 Melbourne Age: "One man's terrorist is the other person's freedom fighter."

According to the Age, "Prosecutor Mark Dean SC told the court that Rajeevan was a member of the Tamil Coordinating Committee, an arm of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and had met the movement's leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in October 2003".

This seems to imply that meeting with Prabhakaran is evidence of LTTE membership, which is not the case. During 2003, a ceasefire was in effect and many Tamils from overseas visited LTTE-controlled areas.

Prabhakaran told Green Left Weekly said that by arresting Tamils, the Australian government is taking sides with the Sri Lankan government against "a legitimate struggle for self-determination".