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Aussies rapped over Tigers

30 March 2010 03:28 pm - 16     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Australian Federal Police has been criticised by a Supreme Court judge for bungling a two-year investigation into three men who sent funds to the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers separatist group, including improperly arresting a suspect and abusing his rights.

The AFP's mistakes occurred during its 2007 arrest and questioning of Arumugam Rajeevan, one of three men who will be sentenced in the Victorian Supreme Court today for providing money to a terrorist organisation.

Federal agents arrested Rajeevan at gunpoint despite having no legal basis to do so, refused requests from a barrister and lawyer to speak to him during his five-hour voluntary interview, and subjected him to questioning described by the Victorian Supreme Court's Justice Paul Coghlan as ''really well over the top'' and ''outrageous''.

The AFP, which sustained heavy criticism over its handling of another terrorist investigation into the Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef, said it could not comment on the case until the men had been sentenced.

However, it is believed the AFP has already made changes to deal with the problems that arose during the Tamil Tigers investigation.

Last year Australian prosecutors withdraw all terrorism charges against Rajeevan, Aruran Vinayagamoorthy and Sivarajah Yathavan.

In December they pleaded guilty to a lesser charge under the charter of the United Nations Act, a federal law that makes it a criminal offence to provide an asset to a terrorist organisation proscribed by either the UN or the Australian government.

In pre-trial comments in January last year - which could not be reported at the time - Justice Coghlan said federal agents had ''abused'' the rights of Rajeevan.

He said the manner in which Rajeevan was questioned by a federal agent, Patricia Reynolds, was ''beyond any training a proper investigator can have'' and a ''fundamental departure from the [proper] principles''.

After his criticism, the prosecution decided not to use Rajeevan's interview as part of its case.

Justice Coghlan queried why the AFP did not give Rajeevan access to lawyers while police were questioning him. He also described as ''frighteningly high-handed'' Rajeevan's arrest at gunpoint in 2007 by federal agents and warned police they risked incriminating themselves by testifying about the potentially unlawful arrest. After the arrest, police realised they did not have enough evidence to arrest him and told him he would be ''unarrested'', a notion which Justice Coghlan described as ''bizarre''.

The prosecution described the arrest of Rajeevan as ''a fairly grave mistake''. (Sydney Morning Herald)

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  Comments - 16

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  • Tuesday, 30 March 2010 10:58 PM

    Australia will learn a good lesson soon, for encouraging LTTE cadres to enter the country as 'boat people.'

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 12:48 AM

    Leave alone Australia, what about Sri Lanka who offer ministrial posts to ex-LTTE terrorists? Look at your own face before trying to blame another

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 03:44 AM

    if General Sarath Fonseka was president. none of this would occur. The country will be stable. He is the REAL president

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 03:49 AM

    Australia is not under emergency rule. Under emergency rules anyone can be arrested without notice or charge for a period of time. Sri Lanka needs emergency rule as it is emerging out of a terrorist war. There are hundreds of terrorists in hiding and those captured need to be tried let alone the connivers with the West to de-stabilize the country. Australia is free from terrorism or any other kind of sabotage. If there was any sabotage in Australia the perpetrators would not only be locked up but would not exist to tell the story, as it had had happened so many times in many Western countries.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:12 AM

    The beauty of this is that the police is held accountable. Sri Lanka is increasingly critical of "western" ways...but when it comes to governance and accountability...their citizens are entitled to far more than we are.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:42 AM

    Well... Aussies, now it is all your problem. If you sleep with dogs you will wakeup with plenty of flease so please help all LTTE terrorrists in Australia and enjoy !

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:45 AM

    LTTE criminals have taken the west for a good ride for the last 20-30 years and these people are still havent realized it and they already have forgotten 9/11, Bali and London bombings.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:47 AM

    Australian peoples following Bible.. So, they know the Human Rights.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 05:53 AM

    If SL would have behaved like the Australia, there would be no terrorism in SL.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 06:19 AM

    Asoka Ranasinghe: This is typical of the comments from people who have no idea of what genuine democracy entails. Where does it say he was a 'boat refugee'? you obviously didn't read the story too well.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 06:58 PM

    Congratulations to Australia, and its legal system, for upholding the 'rule of law'!

    Tuesday, 30 March 2010 04:42 PM

    Hand over the case to SL Police...they never Bungle !

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 09:41 PM

    These LTTE supporters wouldn't have been released, had they been supporting a Muslim terror group.

    Tuesday, 30 March 2010 04:56 PM

    Thats the way it is in really democratic countries but in a country Sri Lanka any arrest is legal even if the victim is abducted in a white van, dragged from his legs without giving any reasons, detaining without filing charges, framing charges after detention etc. etc. What a shame.

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010 11:03 AM

    Look at what SL Army did to SF and Srilankan Judges.
    Srilanaka Banana Republice

    Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:30 PM

    This shows that democracy works, even in a vast land like Australia ... not the demo"crazy" practiced in Sri Lanka, where anyone is guilty, before they are found guilty.


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