Full Text of Judgment of Victorian Supreme
Court in Vinayagamoorthy & Yathavan Bail Application,
17 July 2007
Australia's Terror Prosecutions & the Courts, TamilNet, 21
Terrorism: Australian Law & Practise
"The most problematic issue
relating to terrorism and armed conflict is distinguishing
terrorists from lawful combatants" -
Terrorism and Human Rights - Final Report of UN
Special Rapporteur, Kalliopi K. Koufa, 25 June 2004
I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone,
'it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor
less'. 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make
words mean so many different things'. 'The question is,'
said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all'."
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carrol - Through the Looking
"Throwing a bomb is bad,
bomb is good;
Terror, no need to add,
who's wearing the hood."
R.Woddis 'Ethics for Everyman'
Igor Primoratz in State Terrorism &
“Above the gates of hell is the warning that all that enter should abandon
hope. Less dire but to the same effect is the warning given to those who try
to define terrorism” -
David Tucker in
Skirmishes at the Edge of Empire quoted by Lord Carlile in his Report on
Definition of Terrorism -
Presented to UK Parliament, March 2007
WHAT IS TERRORISM?
The Trial of Australian Community Workers
"Defence will dispute that Tamil Tigers are a terrorist organisation"
- Counsel for Defence, Robert Richter SC
PROTAM calls for Open Support of
Australian Tamils charged with so called 'Terror' charges, 11
Australian Supreme Court grants bail to 3 accused of supporting Tamil
Tigers, 17 July 2007
Third Suspect, Arumugam
Rajeevan Arrested - Australian, 12 July 2007
Two suspected Tamil Tigers in Australia arrested - ABC Report, 2 May
One man's terrorist ...
Tamil charges put anti-terror laws back in the spotlight - Jeff
Sparrow, Courtesy Crikey, 2 May 2007
Australia arrests will jeopardize humanitarian help - Australasian
Federation Of Tamil Associations
Sri Lanka's "dirty war" against its Tamil minority
has surpassed the level of abuses seen in
General Augusto Pinochet's Chile
in News Weekly (for 60 years Australia's
Independent News Magazine)]
"Defence will dispute
that Tamil Tigers are a terrorist organisation" - Counsel for
Defence, Robert Richter SC
Australia withdraws Terrorism Charges against Aruran
Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan, and Arumugam Rajeevan , 5 March
"A difficulty for the prosecution has been the
status of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, more commonly known
as the Tamil Tigers... In a bail hearing for the men in July 2007,
Supreme Court judge Bernard Bongiorno cast doubt on the prosecution
being able to convince a jury that the LTTE was a terrorist
organisation ...There is debate over whether the organisation is a
terrorist body or a separatist group engaged in civil war. "
[see also Sanumgam Sabesan on
இயற்கையின் சீற்றமும், செயற்கையின் சீற்றமும்]
PROTAM calls for Open Support for
Australian Tamils charged with so called 'Terror' charges 11 September
grass root level Australian Tamil Organisation lead by prominent Tamil
Community leaders and professionals including John Eliezer, Adrian Sinnappu,
K Sritharan, S Ragavan and Bala Yogachandran, urged all concerned
Australian Tamils to provide moral and financial support to Aruran
Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan and Arumugam Rajeevan who are charged
with so called Terror Charges.
Robert Stary and Associates, lawyers appearing for Tamil Community
Workers Aruran, Yathavan and Rajeevan, in a letter addressed to the Tamil
Community, declared that it was completely lawful and legitimate to
financially support the legal process which has international significance.
Australian authorities are relying on ‘intelligence’ and assurances
provided by Sri Lankan agencies. In fact, in the first bail hearing, the
prosecution argued that it will rely on evidence provided by the Sri Lankan
Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, Army and Police chiefs. The Sri Lankan
foreign ministry is on record saying that they have been actively
“encouraging” Australian authorities.
The Sri Lankan government is one side to a protracted civil conflict that
has its origins in denying Tamil aspirations. Evidence from the Sri Lankan
government is likely to be tainted with this political agenda.
Please contact one of the following PROTAM Activists for more
details, John Eliezer 0400 033 784, Adrian Sinnappu 0423 781 481, K
Sritharan 0438 418 166 S Ragavan 0402 387 920 , Bala Yogachandran 0416
PROTAM aims to to promote and protect the welfare of Australian Tamils
and it vows to act against any planned image tarnishing campaigns
unleashed against Australian Tamil Community, sources said. PROTAM says,
"Tamils in Australia has lived peacefully and contributed to the
nation's development and improvement for over three decades. As a
community Australian Tamils are highly qualified as professionals,
technicians and tradespeople contributing to the economic and social
welfare of the entire nation."
PROTAM Australia Limited
P.O. Box 130
Australian Supreme Court grants bail
to 3 accused of supporting LTTE, 17 July 2007
"...Each of the charges faced by the accused requires proof by the
Crown that the LTTE is a terrorist organisation within the meaning of
the relevant division of the Code. The Crown concedes that it has not
been declared to be such by any decision of the Australian Government,
and perhaps more pertinently, although it was formerly regarded as a
terrorist organisation in Sri Lanka it has not been so regarded since
2002 when a truce between it and the Government of Sri Lanka was first
brokered through the good offices of the Government of Norway. Since
that time the LTTE has been recognised as a party to the peace process
in Sri Lanka and its leader, whatever he might have been accused of
doing in earlier years, was, and is said still to be, a part of that
process. This is so apparently notwithstanding that there are allegedly
international warrants for his arrest extant on serious charges. Of
course, having regard to the terms of the relevant federal legislation
under which these accused are charged, it is open to the Crown to prove
that the LTTE is a terrorist organisation, notwithstanding its not
having been so declared to be in this country or in Sri Lanka." [see
Full Text of Judgment of
Victorian Supreme Court in Vinayagamoorthy & Yathavan Bail
Australian, 12 July 2007
A Sydney financial planner accused of being an international terrorist sent
$600,000 cash raised in Melbourne to the outlawed Tamil Tigers and met with
the fugitive leader of the Sri Lankan terrorist organisation.
A Melbourne court heard yesterday the 40-year-old was signatory to a bank
account set up by a Melbourne-based organisation, the Tamil Co-ordinating
Committee, through which money was funnelled to Sri Lanka.
Father of two Arumugam Rajeevan, a sworn member of the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam, is the third Australian charged with terror offences linked to
the Sri Lankan conflict.
Prosecutor Mark Dean SC told the magistrates court that Mr Rajeevan had
travelled to Sri Lanka to meet with the terror group's top guerilla
commander, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is accused of masterminding the
assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Mr Rajeevan faces charges of membership of a terrorist organisation,
intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organisation, and making
an asset available to a proscribed organisation.
He was not required to enter a plea yesterday.
His arrest follows that of his two co-accused, Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32,
and Sivarajah Yatahavan, 36, in May. The two men were charged with providing
financial and material support to the LTTE under the pretence of tsunami
The arrests came after two years of surveillance by the Australian Federal
Police monitoring Tamil activities in Australia.
Mr Rajeevan's court appearance followed his extradition from Sydney, where
he was arrested on Tuesday. His lawyer, Sam Norton, said his client would
apply for bail next week.
The arrest has sparked anger among Sri Lankan Tamils in Australia, who argue
that the LTTE is fighting a legitimate struggle for power on behalf of an
oppressed racial group.
The LTTE has been waging a bloody civil war in northern Sri Lanka for more
than 20 years, employing guerilla techniques, such as suicide bombings, that
have been emulated by al-Qa'ida.
Mr Dean told magistrate Gerard Lethbridge yesterday that a photograph of Mr
Rajeevan posing with Prabhakaran had been seized in the accused man's home
after a police raid.
Mr Rajeevan had accounting qualifications and was "closely involved" in the
channelling of funds raised from Melbourne-based Tamils to the LTTE in Sri
Lanka, Mr Dean said. "The defendant through the activities of the Tamil
Co-ordinating Committee has been involved in the collection and distribution
of funds to the LTTE," Mr Dean said.
"During the relevant period, he can be actively connected to approximately
$600,000 in cash being registered through that account."
The three men will face a joint committal hearing to begin on September 10.
Two suspected Tamil Tigers in Australia arrested -
ABC Report, 2 May 2007
Two suspected members of the Tamil Tiger rebels have been
arrested in Australia and charged with funnelling money to a terrorist
organisation. The men are accused of supporting the rebels back home against
the Sri Lanka's government.
Presenter/Interviewer: Samantha Donovan
Speakers: Australian Federal Police Counter Terrorism Manager Frank
Prendergast; Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe
DONOVAN: Victorian and Federal Police raided eight homes and businesses in
Melbourn and Sydney early this morning.
Two men Aruran Vinayagamoorthy and Sivarajah Yathavan were arrested. They
faced the Melbourne Magistrates' Court charged with being members of a
terrorist organisation, making funds available to a terrorist organisation
and providing support and resources to a terrorist organisation. The
organisation referred to is the Tamil Tigers, the group that has been waging
a secessionist campaign against the Sri Lankan Government since the 1970s.
At a press conference in Melbourne police said the arrests are part of an
ongoing operation, which began in January 2005, less than a month after the
Indian Ocean tsunami. Victoria's Deputy Police Commissioner Kieran Walshe
says the charges relate in part to a bogus charity operation allegedly being
carried out by the men, which purported to raise funds for tsunami victims.
WALSHE: We're concerned that Australian citizens are being duped I suppose
is the word, into making contributions to what they believe to be honest
fund raising activities in terms of relief for people in distress.
DONOVAN: The Assistant Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Frank
Prendergast said there was no evidence that the men had planned to carry out
any terrorist attacks in Australia.
He wouldn't elaborate on what information police relied on to conduct
today's raids. But he said they wouldn't have been possible without the
introduction of Australia's new terrorism laws.
PRENDERGAST: It's fair to say that the charges that these people have been,
or will be charged with, are from the new suite of terrorism laws. So
they're talking about offences under 102 of the criminal code 1995.
And they relate specifically to membership of a terrorist organisation,
support to a terrorist organisation and receiving funds for a terrorist
organisation. So, under the previous laws, those charges wouldn't have been
open to us.
DONOVAN: Victoria's Deputy Police Commissioner Kieran Walshe says additional
counter-terrorism resources provided by state and federal governments were
also critical in leading to today's arrests.
WALSHE: We've got to recognise that both the Australian Government and the
Victorian Government have had a commitment towards dealing with terrorism
and providing the opportunities to ensure that we were well prepared and
resourced to deal with counter-terrorism issues as they arise.
And I think if it hadn't have been for the commitment of both governments
that it may have been difficult to get to the point that we've got to today.
But certainly, yes, additional resources and legislation has been provided,
which has enabled us jointly to achieve these outcomes.
DONOVAN: In the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this afternoon, Rob Stary,
counsel for Mr Vinayagamoorthy, said that it was impossible for the defence
to make a bail application on the men's behalf without the prosecution
giving further information on the alleged offences to the defence. In
particular, he requested details of the alleged financial transactions.
Mr Stary also raised concerns that the men's presumption of innocence may
have been contaminated by the release of a press release and the police
press conference being held before the men appeared in court this afternoon.
Magistrate Clive Alsop said he wasn't interested in political statements. Mr
Alsop ordered that further information on the alleged offences be provided
to the defence within 48 hours.He also noted that the men have never been in
custody before. The two men have been remanded in custody until next Monday
when their lawyers will apply for bail on their behalf.
One man's terrorist ...
Tamil charges put anti-terror laws back in the spotlight -
Jeff Sparrow, Courtesy Crikey, 2 May 2007
"..is the argument simply that any armed struggle, in
any circumstances, in any country, amounts to terrorism? Well, had these
laws been in place in the eighties, anyone who, say, attended an
anti-apartheid fund-raiser would have become liable for some
Mandela-style jail time of their own. Yes, the Tamil Tigers carry out
assassinations, bombings and other brutalities. But, um, so did the
The charges laid against Aruran Vinayagamoorthy and Sivarajah Yathavan
for belonging to, funding and supporting the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) should draw
attention once more to the extraordinary scope of Australia’s anti-terrorism
Since 2005, it’s been an offence punishable by 25 years in prison to
recklessly provide funds to terrorists, or a supporter of terrorists, even
if they’re overseas. The new laws pose particularly difficult issues for
migrants from strife-torn nations.
After all, in 2005, the Sri Lankan Government itself recognised the Tigers’
popular support when it struck a deal allowing the LTTE to administer funds
for tsunami relief in Tamil areas. Should we be surprised, then, that some
Tamils in Australia see the LTTE as their legitimate representative?
Or is the argument simply that any armed struggle, in any circumstances, in
any country, amounts to terrorism? Well, had these laws been in place in the
eighties, anyone who, say, attended an anti-apartheid fund-raiser would have
become liable for some Mandela-style jail time of their own. Yes, the Tamil
Tigers carry out assassinations, bombings and other brutalities. But, um, so
did the ANC.
There are plenty of other ethnic minorities in Australia who face such
repression at home that their political and cultural organisations
inevitably maintain a connection with armed groups. Given that you can get
done for collecting funds simply by being "reckless" about where your
money’s going, the scope for future prosecutions seems vast.
Yet, the laws only apply to supporters of opposition groups, not the
repressive regimes they oppose. It’s illegal, for instance, to support the
Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). It’s perfectly OK to back the Turkish
Government -- even though, according to Amnesty, it imprisons Kurds simply
for speaking their own language. If you were Kurdish, that might seems less
like preventing terrorism -- and more like taking sides.
Australia arrests will jeopardize humanitarian help - Australasian
Federation Of Tamil Associations [TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 May 2007, 11:55
The recent arrests in Australia of Tamil activists on allegations of
misdirecting of funds for the LTTE, "could jeopardize the humanitarian
projects funded by the Australian Tamil community and NGOs that assist over
500,000 internally displaced Tamil civilians in the Tamil homeland in Sri
Lanka. Denial of this assistance to the needy would only help the Sri Lankan
government in their attempt to “beat the Tamil people in Sri Lanka into
submission,"" the Australasian Federation Of Tamil Associations (AFTA) said
in a press release issued Wednesday.
Full text of the press release follows:
The Tamil Australian community is shocked at the arrest of two Tamil
residents of Melbourne on 1 May 2007 reportedly charged with terrorism
offences. According to ‘The Age’ article of 1 May 2007, the Australian
Federal Police have alleged that they are members of the Tamil rebel
organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and have provided
them with funds and electronic equipment aiding in their armed struggle for
a homeland for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
Whilst the law abiding and peace loving Tamil Australians acknowledge the
need to conduct a fair and open judicial process aimed at establishing the
truth, the Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA), an umbrella
organization of the peak Tamil associations in Australia and New Zealand is
deeply concerned of these arrests and their possible consequences.
These arrests and the allegations against the persons arrested that they
have directed funds raised for humanitarian purposes, to the LTTE, could
jeopardize the humanitarian projects funded by the Australian Tamil
community and NGOs that assist over 500,000 internally displaced Tamil
civilians in the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. Denial of this assistance to
the needy would only help the Sri Lankan government in their attempt to
“beat the Tamil people in Sri Lanka into submission”.
It is disturbing to note that Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha
Kohona tipping on 1 May, that further arrests in Australia are to follow,
pre-empting our government action and adding credence to the fears of the
Australian Tamils of Sri Lanka’s political interference with the judicial
process in Australia.
Undue publicity and wild speculations in the media about this matter would
embolden the Sri Lankan Government and the Sinhala extremists in Australia
to demonise the Tamil Australian Community. This would lead to the profiling
of the entire Tamil Australian community as ‘terrorists’ or ‘supporters of
terrorism’ and would affect their capacity to live with self respect and
dignity and serve their newly found home country to their fullest potential.
An intensified demonizing campaign by the Sri Lankan Government would also
undermine the legitimate struggle of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka for
self-determination and may lead to the denial of the fundamental rights of
the Australian Tamil community to raise their genuine concerns over the
blatant violations of human rights of their brethren in Sri Lanka.
In this context, AFTA appeals to the Office of the Attorney General and the
Australian Federal Police to be sensitive to these genuine concerns of the
Tamil Australians, in their conduct of the judicial process.
AFTA also pleads with the media to take note of this matter in their
reporting of related developments in the future.
Vino Kanapathipillai...0416 967 760 (Sydney)
Raga Ragavan..........0402 387 920 (Canberra)
Siva Sivakumar.........0404 894 591 (Melbourne)
"Defence will dispute
that Tamil Tigers are a terrorist organisation" Robert Richter SC
Report by Melissa Iaria and Kellee Nolan, Bateman Bay News, 7 May 2007
" Two Melbourne men accused of supporting a Sri Lanka based terrorist
organisation pose too great a flight risk to receive bail, a court has
heard. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 32, of Mt Waverley, and Sivarajah Yathavan,
36, of Vermont South, are seeking bail in Melbourne Magistrates Court after
being charged last week with terrorism offences over their support of the
The defence will dispute the Tamil Tigers is a terrorist organisation and
Yathavan denies being a member, the court was told.
The men allegedly used the Melbourne-based Tamil Coordination Committee to
raise funds for the Tamil Tigers under the guise of fundraising for tsunami
relief. It was alleged the men bought equipment of the type used in
terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
Each faces three charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation,
providing support or resources to a terrorist organisation and making funds
available to a terrorist organisation.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) federal agent Alexander Nicholson opposed
bail because there was an "unacceptable risk" the pair would flee Australia
He believed both men had access to "substantial amounts of cash money" and
could circumvent normal travel routes.
Crown prosecutor Mark Dean SC alleged Vinayagamoorthy was a senior member of
the Tamil Tigers in Australia and that between 2003 and 2005 he bought 3500
electronic transmitters and receivers worth $97,000, of a type able to be
used in explosives.
"Approximately 70 remote control devices have been used in actions of
terrorism in Sri Lanka and in 90 per cent of cases, they have used the same
type of equipment purchased by Vinayagamoorthy," he said.
He alleged Vinayagamoorthy deposited about $526,000 into two bank accounts
between August 2001 and December 2005 and $240,000 was transferred to Sri
Mr Dean said Yathavan drafted financial reports sent to the Tamil Tigers and
that he acted for a third man, now deceased
Thillaindarajah Jeyakumar, who was alleged to be the Tamil Tigers'
Australian leader. He accused Yathavan of buying 185 marine hydraulic
steering units, identical to, but not actually the units used in a suicide
attack in which 17 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in May, 2006.
Robert Richter SC, for Yathavan, said the defence would dispute the Tamil
Tigers were a terrorist organisation and said Mr Yathavan denied being a
member. He said the prosecution had no evidence his client had done anything
wrong since 2005 and that when he bought the marine parts, doing so was not
illegal. There was no evidence Yathavan or his co-accused was a danger to
the Australian community, he said.
"He has a social consciousness for Tamils here and in Sri Lanka - that
doesn't make him a terrorist," he said. Rob Stary, for Vinayagamoorthy, said
his client had provided humanitarian relief and the only way such aid could
reach Sri Lanka's Tamil-controlled parts was via the Tamil Tigers.
The defendants had stable jobs and there was no evidence they were a flight
risk, he said. The court heard Vinayagamoorthy is unmarried with no family
in Victoria while Yathavan - whose father was murdered in Sri Lanka in 1989
- has a wife and 15-month-old baby in Melbourne.
Prosecutor Kevin Armstrong said the offences were "extremely serious" and
supported large-scale overseas terrorism. The pair were remanded until 2pm
(AEST) on Tuesday for a decision."
withdraws Terrorism Charges
"The most problematic issue relating to terrorism and
armed conflict is distinguishing terrorists from lawful combatants" -
Terrorism and Human Rights - Final Report of UN Special
Rapporteur, Kalliopi K. Koufa, 25 June 2004
"...Do we not deliberately obfuscate when we conflate
the two words 'terrorism' and 'violence'? ... The Cuban revolution was
violent but it was not terrorism. The war against Hitler was violent but
it was not terrorism...What are the circumstances in which a people
ruled by an alien people may lawfully
resort to arms to resist that alien rule and secure freedom? Or is it
that there are no circumstances in which a people ruled by an alien
lawfully resort to arms to to liberate themselves? And if all resort
to violence to secure political ends is not terrorism, then
what is terrorism? ..to
categorise a combatant in an armed conflict as a 'terrorist'
organisation and seek to punish it on that basis, is to.. assert in
effect that a people ruled by an alien people may not, as a last
resort to arms to resist that alien rule and secure freedom... "
On Terrorism & Liberation - Nadesan Satyendra, 2006
The Australian, March 06, 2009...
" ... Commonwealth prosecutors yesterday told the Victorian Supreme
Court they would not be proceeding with nine terrorism charges from the
criminal code against Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 61, Sivarajah Yathavan,
38, and Arumugam Rajeevan, 48.
Instead the men -- who have pleaded not guilty -- will be tried on the
remaining five charges of
breaching the Charter of UN Act by making money available to a
The men face a maximum sentence of five years for each offence, compared
with up to 25 years' jail for the bulk of the nine federal terrorism
A difficulty for the prosecution has been the status of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam, more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers...
In a bail hearing for the men in July 2007, Supreme Court judge Bernard
Bongiorno cast doubt on the prosecution being able to convince a jury
that the LTTE was a terrorist organisation ... There is debate
over whether the organisation is a terrorist body or a separatist group
engaged in civil war.
Prosecutor Mark Dean SC told the court the commonwealth would soon file
a new presentment of charges that would not include the nine terrorism
offences under the criminal code.
He said the remaining five charges were all breaches of the UN Charter,
in which the Tamil Tigers are proscribed as a terrorist organisation, so
the prosecution is "not required to prove that element".
Police originally charged Mr Vinayagamoorthy with three offences under
the post-2001 federal counter-terrorism laws: intentionally being a
member of a terrorist organisation between July 2004 and July 2007,
making funds available to a terrorist organisation between May 2003 and
May 2007, and intentionally providing a terrorist organisation resources
from May 2003 and May 2007.
They alleged he helped the LTTE in their campaign against the Sri Lankan
Government by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable
donations in Australia.
Mr Vinayagamoorthy will now be charged with making money collected in
Australia available to a proscribed entity, as well as providing the
organisation with boat design software and electronic components.
His two co-accused were originally charged with being members of a
terrorist organisation and making funds available to a terrorist
organisation. Mr Yathavan was also charged with internationally
providing support or resources to a terrorist organisation. They will be
charged only with making money collected in Australia available to a
Mr Dean told the court the prosecution case against three men had
narrowed. "It's simpler, much simpler," he said.
Judge Paul Coghlan adjourned the case until Wednesday when prosecution
and defence hope to set a trial date.
The federal counter-terrorism laws have attracted controversy in the
past. They were used against Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef following his
arrest at Brisbane airport in July 2007. Dr Haneef was ultimately
cleared of any involvement in terrorism.