Federal Court upholds deportation of Tigers fundraiser

An alleged fundraiser for Tamil rebels who has been fighting deportation from Canada for more than two decades has lost a key court battle after a federal judge dismissed his appeal.

The Federal Court upheld the deportation of Manickavasagam Suresh on the grounds he was a member of a terrorist organization and that he was complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The evidence “adequately supported” the Immigration and Refugee Board’s finding that Suresh was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, Justice Richard Mosley wrote in his ruling.

The judge also found reasonable the IRB’s finding that Suresh was “a dedicated supporter who voluntarily worked on behalf of the LTTE and willingly followed the direction of the organization’s leadership.”

The Tigers were separatist guerrillas who fought for independence for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority. In addition to fighting a ground war, they conducted numerous political assassinations and bombings.

In 1990, Suresh was allegedly sent to Toronto by the LTTE to help run the group’s front organization, the World Tamil Movement, serving as its co-ordinator. But he was arrested in 1995 as a security risk.

Initially, Canadian authorities tried to deport him under a security certificate, which was upheld by the Federal Court. He fought the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled he could face torture if returned to his home country.

But the government continued to quietly push for his removal and in 2008, immigration officials drafted a report alleging he was inadmissible to Canada due to his membership in the WTM and his complicity in war crimes.

Following a hearing, the IRB ordered his deportation in 2015. The 40-page decision dismissing his appeal of that ruling was handed down on Jan. 10 but as of Monday had not yet been posted on the Federal Court website.

The Tamil Tigers ran a lucrative fundraising operation in Toronto and Montreal until the WTM’s offices were raided by the RCMP in 2006. Among other things, the searches turned up appeals for money to buy weapons.

The WTM was placed on Canada’s list of outlawed terrorist groups in 2008. In 2009, the Tamil rebels were defeated by Sri Lankan government forces, which have themselves been accused of committing war crimes during the lengthy conflict. (National Post)

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