July 09, The Hague: A Dutch prosecutor has told a court in The Hague that four Tamils arrested last year in Netherlands have direct links with the Tamil Tiger terrorists group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The four Tamils, accused of extorting money from other Dutch Tamils are currently on trial in the Netherlands, the Radio Netherlands reported.
The four accused are also being charged for organizing illegal lotteries with all proceeds going to the LTTE and for being members of a criminal and terrorist organization.
The European Union listed LTTE as a terrorist organization in 2006.
According to the prosecutor, the four Tamils have registered all the Tamil families in the Netherlands and kept details on who was paying the money to the organization and who were not. Those who were paying money for the LTTE were coerced to pay often.
The prosecutor has described the LTTE as a “violent and ruthless “organization that carried out suicide attacks and recruited child soldiers to deploy for combat.
The Dutch authorities have launched a complex and elaborate investigation called ‘Operation Koninck’ to uncover the prominent role Tamil Tiger leaders in the Netherlands played in financing the civil war in Sri Lanka.
The LTTE waged a war against the Sri Lankan government for over three decades which killed over 100,000 people on both sides of the ethnic divide. The government defeated the LTTE in May 2009 eliminating all its senior leaders in Sri Lanka. However, the Tiger leaders living outside the country are still actively engaged in reviving the organization.
A lawyer appearing for one of the four suspects has told the Dutch court that the Sri Lankan army has seriously violated human rights in their war against the LTTE. He has alleged that many Tamils have been kidnapped or have disappeared.
The case against the four Tamil suspects is expected to take many more months as Dutch police are still investigating many of the charges against them.
A Dutch team was in Sri Lanka recently as a part of their investigation to interrogate the former senior LTTE leader and the group’s international arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan and other former LTTE leaders who are detained by the Sri Lankan government.
The team was in Sri Lanka to investigate funding activities and weapons procurement by Tamil leaders based in the Netherlands during the conflict.
According to a report in Daily Mirror, the Dutch detectives have interviewed 13 former LTTE cadres before leaving the country last week.