Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Men deny supplying Tamil Tigers

Tamil Tiger fighters rehearse to break through outer defense lines of a military camp at a training camp in the north east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 2007
Tamil Tigers want an independent state for the Tamil minority

A British Tamil community leader has appeared in court accused of plotting to send military supplies to the Tamil Tiger separatist group in Sri Lanka.

Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, conspired to send electrical components to the organisation that is banned in the UK, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Mr Chrishanthakumar faces five charges, all of which he denies.

Two other Tamils from mid-Wales and a fourth from south London also deny procuring components for the group.

Mr Chrishanthakumar, known as Shantham, also faces allegations of belonging to the Tamil Tigers, raising money for them, receiving terrorist documents and amassing a hoard of military equipment.

Shantham, a property valuer from Norbury, in south London, is the founder of the British Tamil Association.

'Shopping list'

The court heard that brothers, Jagetheswaran Muraleetharan, known as Muralee, and Jeyatheswaran Vythyatharan, known as Vithy, both of Newtown in Powys, were skilled electrical engineers.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said their names, as well as that of Shantham, were found on invoices and order plans for electrical components, all of which added up to a "shopping list" for items that could have military uses.

Shantham "co-ordinated the procurement", Mr Laidlaw said, while Muralee, 46, and Vithy, 40, were useful for their electrical skills.

He added the equipment included printed circuit boards that could be used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, magnets which could be used in limpet mines and other components which appeared to be intended for a ship tracking device.

Mr Laidlaw said the brothers ordered unauthorised equipment in the name of their employer, Welsh firm Control Techniques.

Shantham had been warned by the UK authorities in 2004 after he bought boots and handcuffs for the Tigers' police force, the court heard.

Forklift driver

The fourth man, Murugesu Jegatheeswaran, or Jegan, of Mitcham, is also named on a document ordering electrical components, which were sent to his former place of employment.

The 34-year-old forklift driver maintains he has no knowledge of the goods and his name must have been used by someone else.

The Tamil Tigers, or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), became a banned organisation in the UK in 2000.

The group has waged an armed campaign for more than 30 years to try to create an independent Tamil state on the island of Sri Lanka.

There are 300,000 Tamils living in the UK, half of them in London.

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