Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 13:05 UK

Man cleared in Tamil Tigers trial

Tamil Tiger fighters rehearse to break through outer defence 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 man accused of aiding the Tamil Tiger group in Sri Lanka has been cleared.

Murugesu Jegatheeswaran, 34, of south London, had denied receiving electronic items for use in terrorism.

The forklift driver said he had no knowledge of components sent to his former workplace. He was found not guilty at Kingston Crown Court.

Jurors are still considering the cases of three other defendants charged with offences relating to the Tamil Tigers. They deny all the charges against them.

Terrorist documents

Mr Jegatheeswaran, or Jegan, of Mitcham, had been named on a document ordering the components, but said his name must have been used by someone else.

The jury of five men and seven women returned the not guilty verdict after five days of deliberation.

The jury is still to return verdicts in the cases of his co-accused.

Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, is accused of belonging to the Tamil Tigers, raising money for them, receiving terrorist documents, plotting to send military supplies and amassing a hoard of military equipment.

Mr Chrishanthakumar, known as Shantham, is a property valuer from Norbury, in south London, and the founder of the British Tamil Association. He has denied all charges.

'Shopping list'

Two other Tamils from mid-Wales have also denied procuring components for the group.

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.

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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