2ND LEAD (Adds details, background)
Australia Court grants bail to 3 arrested on terrorism charges
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 11:37 GMT]
Victoria state Supreme Court Judge Bernard Bongiorno, telling the court that if the "principle [normal presumption of innocence] is abandoned or even modified for political expediency, that risks the whole foundation of our criminal justice system," Tuesday released Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, 33, and Sivarajah Yathavan, 36, on bail, Associated Press reported. Bongiorno pointed out that the Australian government has not declared the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group. The two were arrested in May charged with "raising money for Liberation Tigers."
Meanwhile. a third accused, Arumugam Rajeevan, 41, arrested in Sydney earlier this month, was also released on bail later Tuesday by Chief Magistrate Ian Gray in Melbourne Magistrates Court.
The bail amount for each of the accused was A$100,000 (US $87,400).
"Under Australian laws, a group is considered a terrorist organization if it is formally listed by the federal government, or if a court makes a specific ruling. The Tamil Tigers are not on the government's current list of 19 banned organizations, although the group appears on terror blacklists in the European Union and the United States," AP report said.
Australian Government lawyers, as directed by the Attorney General Phillip Ruddock, are to examine if there are grounds to appeal the decision.
Crown indicated to the Court that it would call two political scientists to testify at the trial that the LTTE was a terrorist organisation but Justice Bongiorno said such evidence might not be admitted to go before a jury, said the website for 'The Australian.'
The website added: "Outside court, the solicitor for Mr Yathavan and Mr Rajeevan, Robert Stary, slammed Australia's "draconian and repressive" terror laws and said all Australian Tamils supported the Tamil Tigers' struggle against "oppressive circumstances" in Sri Lanka. "This is the conundrum in the Tamil community. If you charge one person you may as well charge 30,000 people.""
Lt Cmdr Charles Swift, lawyer for Guantanamo detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan, expressed sentiments similar to that of Judge Bongiorno that adhering to the rule of law is what separates "us from the bad guys." [see external link below]
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. representative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Karunakaran Kandasamy, who was arrested in Queens, New York, on 25 April on terrorism charges is still under detention waiting for Court hearing for bail. Legal sources close to his case said that the hearing will likely take place last week of July.
12.07.07 Anti-terror Laws