The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), which sued Sri Lanka-born terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna for linking it to the LTTE, has been awarded $53,000 by a Canadian court, foreign media reports said.
In a February 2011 article published by Lakbima News, Gunaratna was quoted as saying: "The LTTE is operating under the name of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which is the main LTTE front organization in Canada."
Gunaratna had also written that "the Canadian government is aware of this and currently investigating" the group.
The Toronto-based CTC filed a defamation case against Gunaratna for linking it to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which was crushed by the Sri Lankan military in 2009.
In his judgment, Justice Stephen E. Firestone of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice here has ruled in favour of the CTC, awarding it $37,000 in damages and imposing $16,000 in costs on Gunaratna.
In his ruling, Justice Firestone said Gunaratna's statements "were clearly defamatory, either directly or by innuendo, because they imply CTC is involved in the commission of violent and illegal activity...
"It is unequivocal and uncontroverted that these statements were, in fact, false and untrue."
Reacting to the verdict, the CTC said Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, was part of the Sri Lankan government's "smear campaign prior to the final military onslaught of May 2009 in northern Sri Lanka which resulted, according to UN estimates, in the massacre of 40,000 to 70,000 Tamils".
CTC spokesman David Poopalapillai said: "The court's decision is a vindication to the CTC and its members and supporters.
"The surest way to attempt to destroy an ethnic group is to make its members afraid to even admit that they are part of that group for fear of being labelled terrorist sympathizers or terrorists themselves. "The Sri Lankan government and its sympathizers have labelled all Tamils as terrorists for far too long. This judgment is a victory not only for CTC but for Tamils everywhere."
The CTC is the representative body of over 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada - the largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora group outside of Sri Lanka.
Gunaratna is a globally known terrorism expert who often speaks on major media networks. (IANS)