Sri Lanka urges U.S. to drop charges against Canadian accused of supporting terrorism
HandoutSuresh Sriskandarajah, 32, who was extradited to New York in December to stand trial on terrorism charges.
Sri Lanka asks U.S. to abandon prosecution of Suresh Sriskandarajah
The Sri Lankan government has asked the United States to abandon the prosecution of a Canadian charged with buying equipment and laundering money for the separatist Tamil Tigers rebels.
The extraordinary request, in a letter sent to the U.S. State Department, concerns Suresh Sriskandarajah, 32, who was extradited to New York in December to stand trial on terrorism charges.
The letter, which surfaced at Mr. Suresh’s bail hearing last month, urged the U.S. to drop the charges against Mr. Suresh “in light of his publicly recognized efforts to secure a lasting, peaceful reconciliation for the Tamil people,” wrote Judge Raymond Dearie of the U.S. District Court.
Given the history of Sri Lanka’s prolonged and bitter conflict, the request is indeed an extraordinary initiative
“Given the history of Sri Lanka’s prolonged and bitter conflict, the request is indeed an extraordinary initiative that evidences Suresh’s legitimate and admirable work to secure a lasting and just resolution of the tragic conflict.”
But U.S. prosecutors are proceeding with the case nonetheless, and the judge ruled the letter was not relevant to the bail proceedings, ordering Mr. Suresh to be held in custody for the duration of the trial.
The judge also denied bail to a second Canadian, Piratheepan Nadarajah, 36, who faces terrorism charges for his alleged role in a plot to buy $1-million worth of AK-47 assault rifles and surface-to-air missiles for the Tamil Tigers.
Both men were arrested in Toronto following a joint RCMP-FBI investigation called Project O-Needle. They were extradited to the U.S. in late 2012 after the Supreme Court of Canada rejected their appeals.