A court in Berlin has convicted ten Tamils on 12 December 2014, for “supporting a terrorist organisation” and gave them suspended jail sentences lasting between 6 and 22 months. The eight men and two women, aged between 32 and 60, were found guilty of financially supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, by collecting donations between August 2007 and March 2009.
The judges said the accused suffered violence and discrimination in their homeland and that they “primarily wanted to support humanitarian efforts, but were aware that funds could be used for criminal activities.”
The federal government in Germany has recently increased monitoring of Tamils, at the behest of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Berlin, a Tamil activist told the Tamil Guardian.
The youth activist, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was visited by domestic intelligence officers from the Bundesverfassungsschutz three times this year alone.
“They visited my home and said they just wanted to ‘talk’. One officer said the Sri Lankan embassy is putting pressure on the German authorities to take action against Eelam Tamil activists,” he said, adding that he declined to speak to the intelligence officers on the two subsequent occasions.
Another senior activist described how memorial events were cancelled, after pressure from German police and that activists are approached and questioned by officers during demonstrations. “The Thileepan memorial event in September was forced from two locations after police intervened,” she told the paper.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany, Karunatilaka Amunugama was the secretary for the Ministry of External Affairs in President Rajapaksa’s government, until January this year, before he took up his new position in Berlin