Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bail granted to man charged in B.C. for allegedly raising funds for terrorists

The Toronto-area man who is the first person in Canada to be charged with helping finance terrorists was granted bail in a British Columbia court Tuesday.
Prapaharan Thambithurai, 45, was released on $25,000 bail. After leaving Vancouver Provincial Court, he was picked up by his wife, who was driving a black Cadillac Escalade.

Thambithurai is accused of asking people in Metro Vancouver for donations to the Tamil Tigers, a group seeking an independent homeland in Sri Lanka.

Formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, the Tigers were declared a terrorist group by the Canadian government two years ago, which makes it illegal to raise money for them.

The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team arrested Thambithurai in New Westminster last Friday.

It is alleged that Thambithurai committed an offence under Section 83.03(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada, the section that makes it an offence to provide, or make available property or services for terrorist purposes.

Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former agent for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) who is now a security consultant with Ottawa-based Northgate Group, said before the group was outlawed, it managed to raise an average of $10 million from Canada's relatively small Tamil community.

Juneau-Katsuya said the group did it by terrorizing members of the Tamil community by threatening repercussions for family back in Sri Lanka if money wasn't given.

Thambithurai spoke briefly to reporters outside the court before getting into the waiting Cadillac.

When asked whether he thought he had done anything wrong, he replied with a terse "No."

CBC

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