No jail term for 13 Swiss LTTE financiers

14 June 2018 08:46 pm - 13     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has given no prison terms to alleged financiers of the LTTE, the Swissinfo news reported on Thursday. It said the 13 accused were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted.

The court on Thursday said accusations of participation in and support of a criminal organisation did not stand and therefore, released all of the accused.

It noted that the hierarchical link between the LTTE and the  World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC) was not sufficiently established. The judges also felt there was not enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal organisation.

While the federal prosecutor Juliette Noto had asked for prison terms of between 18 months and six years for the accused, the court did not oblige.

Eight of the thirteen on the docks were acquitted of all charges. The others were only found guilty of fraud. WTCC’s finance manager and one of the accused who arranged loans from Bank Now (owned by Credit Suisse) on false pretences got a 24-month suspended sentence. The president of WTCC got 21 months while the finance manager’s deputy got 20 months in suspended sentences.

The whole process is estimated to have cost close to 4 million Swiss francs (CHF) which the federal government will have to bear. In addition to this amount, compensation for those acquitted, as well as lawyers’ fees total to almost CHF5 million. The accused will have to pay part of their lawyers’ expenses provided they have the financial means to do so.

During the eight-week trial, which opened in January and closed in March, the federal prosecutor requested sentences of up to six-and-a-half years in prison. The proceedings cost CHF3.8 million.

The 13 defendants - 12 Tamils or Swiss citizens of Tamil origin plus one German - were accused of participating in or supporting a criminal organisation, fraud, forgery, money laundering and extortion.

During her indictment, Juliette Noto, a federal prosecutor, described a sophisticated system used by the WTCC to raise funds largely for armed struggle from the Tamil community in Switzerland. The Tamil community in Switzerland was systematically registered and its ability to pay assessed. Families who refused to pay were threatened, she said.

Noto cast the LTTE, who are represented in Switzerland by the WTCC, as a violent movement "whose effectiveness inspired Al-Qaeda".

Showing a picture of the WTCC leader behind a machine gun and images of child soldiers, she enumerated the attacks and crimes attributed to the Tamil Tigers. The prosecutor sought to demonstrate the informed involvement of the accused in supporting and funding the LTTE.

In their pleadings, the defence invoked the legitimacy of the Tigers' struggle against the Sri Lankan government's repression of the Tamil minority. They argued that the money collected in Switzerland by the accused for the WTCC was mainly used for humanitarian purposes. The defence also challenged the prosecution of the accused at a time when Tiger resistance was collapsing in Sri Lanka.

During the hearings, the accused spoke at length about the repression suffered in Sri Lanka and the atrocities committed by the security forces. They kept silent when asked about their specific involvement.

  Comments - 13

  • Gamaya Thursday, 14 June 2018 09:52 PM

    Stupid idiots. Very soon all of Switzerland will be in the hands of the LTTE types

    Stan Thursday, 14 June 2018 10:44 PM

    "enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal organisation" Are you serious? I'm pretty sure you Switzerland wouldn't say the same about ISIS or Al Qaeda.

    Gayan Thursday, 14 June 2018 10:49 PM

    Switzerland needs a hybrid court first.

    Sheri Thursday, 14 June 2018 11:12 PM

    Juliette Noto, Prosecutor, we applaud you for your fair and rightful stance. These atrocious criminals used the same old crappy excuse “repression suffered and atrocities committed by the security forces, etc” but kept silent when asked about their involvement - why?? These criminals should have had long sentences!

    Erode Terribile Thursday, 14 June 2018 11:17 PM

    what for a shame....

    Hautaum Friday, 15 June 2018 12:20 PM

    Nothing is ashamed, SL sinhala imperialism (state terrorism) was/is/will root cause of the all problems in this island.

    Justice Friday, 15 June 2018 12:33 AM

    The highest court has said that they do not belong to a criminal organisation. Repression of Tamil speaking people has been clearly accepted by SwisS Federal Criminal Court.Thus JUSTICE has been carried out.Lets see the response from our brotherans of the South.

    DHA Friday, 15 June 2018 12:50 AM

    How sweet whereas we are putting our war heros behind bars.....

    Ceylon Friday, 15 June 2018 01:04 AM

    Any surprise ???.look at the other side the militarymen who comited same or worse crimes,no one jail even one day.

    billy Friday, 15 June 2018 06:05 AM

    Some western nations are nothing but a set of hypocrites who would declare even a most ruthless terrorist organization as a terrorist organization only when they taste of the terrorism on their own. Till such terrorists start killing in their countries the terrorists are freedom fighters.

    Damian Friday, 15 June 2018 10:15 AM

    They will get what they deserve soon

    Palli Kanda Friday, 15 June 2018 10:36 AM

    Well said Billy. Yes, for the West terrorism is defined as when a white is killed. In UK Labour Party treats LTTE as gods and protected. What chance our poor government got?

    Concerned Friday, 15 June 2018 12:23 PM

    Swiss judges need to take training from Sri Lankan judges!

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