Canadian immigration officials are trying to deport an alleged member of the World Tamil Movement, which the RCMP has labeled a “front organization” for Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers rebels.The Canada Border Services Agency said it had asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to issue a terrorism-related deportation order against the Sri Lankan refugee, who has lived in Canada for the past 15 years.“I can confirm that the CBSA has requested an admissibility hearing for a person they believe is inadmissible to Canada, as there are reasonable grounds to believe the individual was or is a member of the World Tamil Movement, and as a member engaged in fundraising for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” said Faith St. John, a CBSA spokeswoman.Details of the case were recently posted on the Refugee Board website. The man’s name has not been publicly released but he has lived in Canada since 1997 and was accepted as a convention refugee in 1998. The case is being heard in Vancouver, where the WTM had an office that was raided by the RCMP counter-terrorism unit in 2005. The police search warrant named seven suspects who were alleged to have financed terrorism, but it is not clear whether the man now facing possible deportation was one of them.“As you are aware, the CBSA cannot provide information on cases related to convention refugees. As a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention, Canada has an obligation to protect genuine refugees. We take our responsibilities in this area very seriously,” Ms. St. John said.Notorious for suicide bombings, assassinations and the conscription of children, the Tamil Tigers fought a lengthy civil war for independence until they were crushed by Sri Lankan forces three years ago in a controversial offensive that killed an untold number of civilians.Formed in Ontario in 1986, the WTM was accused of using pressure tactics to squeeze contributions from ethnic Tamils in Canada and using the money to advance the rebel cause. Former WTM leader Manickavasagam Suresh was arrested in 1995 but fought his deportation to the Supreme Court.A 2006 RCMP raid of the WTM offices in Toronto and Montreal turned up requests from the rebels for money and lists of weapons. The RCMP called the WTM “part of the LTTE strategy to raise funds for rearmament.” The group denied being a rebel front.The WTM has since been dismantled. In 2008, the government banned it for terrorism, and last year the Federal Court seized its assets. A former WTM member, Prapaharan Thambaithurai, pleaded guilty to fundraising for the rebels in Vancouver in 2010.The unnamed man facing deportation had argued he should not have to testify at his hearing. But IRB Member Michael McPhalen ruled he was “a compellable witness.” The hearing is being held behind closed doors. The man is not being detained.
World Tamil Movement (WTM)
“The World Tamil Movement was created in 1986 and became a known and leading front organization for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Canada. The leadership of the WTM acts at the direction of the LTTE and has been instrumental in fundraising in Canada on behalf of the LTTE. WTM representatives canvas for donations amongst the Canadian Tamil population, and have been involved in acts of intimidation and extortion to secure funds.”