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Tuesday, July 31 , 2012 - 9.15 GMT
Australian AG authorises extradition of alleged LTTE supporter to US


The Attorney General of Australia Nicola Roxon has authorised the extradition of an ethnic Tamil, wanted by the US on offshore terrorism charges.

Thulasitharan Santhirarajah, the former head of the Melbourne International College, has spent four years in custody, most of that time awaiting a decision by the federal government on whether to support his US prosecution over alleged links to the Tamil Tigers.

The Attorney General signed the extradition order in February, The Australian reported.

Mr Santhirarajah, 38, is a Sri Lankan citizen who came to Australia on a short-term business visa and later sought permanent residency.He was arrested in July 2008, amid raids conducted by the Australian Federal Police at the request of the FBI, and accused of having actively supported the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which is a listed terrorist organisation in the US.

Mr Santhirarajah was initially sought in relation to six charges, namely conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, two charges of money-laundering, one charge of attempted export of arms and munitions, and one charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The magistrate hearing his case found the US had given too little evidence to support the last two charges. The evidence arose from a US sting that has seen others convicted of offences related to their alleged attempts to procure weapons from the US.

Meanwhile, the first Tamil asylum-seeker to be deported from Australia since the end of the conflict recanted his prior claims of torture at the hands of the Sri Lankan government.

In Colombo, Dayan Anthony told a press conference he had lied about his past, and Tamils should return home instead of trusting unscrupulous people-smugglers.


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