A leading member of the British Tamil community was convicted on Friday of supplying bomb-making materials for Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger separatists.
Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar co-ordinated the supply of equipment for the Tigers despite previously being warned by police to stop buying electrical components. He claimed he had been helping poor poultry farmers.
A jury at Kingston crown court, southwest London, found the 52-year-old, known as Shanthan, guilty of supplying material to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It also convicted him of receiving documents for the purposes of terrorism.
But the jury failed to reach verdicts on three other charges against Chrishanthakumar and on one charge against another man. The Crown Prosecution Service will decide this week whether there will be a retrial.
Jurors were told that Chrishanthakumar was a member of the LTTE, but were unable to reach a verdict on the charge. They were also told he was the head of the United Tamil Organization in the UK before it was banned in 2001. Police became aware in 2004 he was buying computers, circuit boards, remote control equipment, components used in radio tracking devices and satellite equipment from an army surplus store in Southsea, Hampshire. They believed this was being sent to LTTE forces.
Chrishanthakumar claimed the boards were for providing cheap electricity, including lighting hen houses. He was not arrested but was told to stop such activity. In July 2007 police searches at his home uncovered evidence that allegedly demonstrated continued work for the Tamil Tigers.
The jury decided by a majority that he had received electrical components and terrorist literature and manuals. But they failed to reach a verdict on three counts: Receiving military equipment, receiving money and belonging to a proscribed organization, the LTTE.
They also failed to agree on a charge that Jagatheeswaran Muraleetharan, 46, from Powys, Wales, had received electrical components for the purpose of terrorism. His brother Jeyatheswaran Vythyatharan, 40, also from Powys, was cleared of the same charge following the nine-week trial.