Swiss apex court affirms LTTE not a criminal organisation

Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court ruled that there was insufficient proof to consider the LTTE a criminal group.

PETALING JAYA: Switzerland’s highest court has upheld a previous ruling that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) is not a criminal organisation, acquitting 12 people of charges filed by the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) last year.

After a nine-year investigation, the OAG accused them of raising funds for the now-defunct militant group through the Swiss-based World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC) between 1999 and 2009.

However, in June 2018, the Federal Criminal Court found there was not enough evidence to link LTTE and WTCC and found there was insufficient proof to consider the LTTE a criminal group under the Swiss Penal Code.

The OAG appealed against the verdict in April but the Federal Supreme Court upheld the ruling in a decision published on Tuesday – and noting that the LTTE was not regarded as a criminal organisation at the time of the fundraising.

Previous reports stated that the 12 were accused of sending 15 million Swiss Francs (RM63.4 million) to the LTTE by collecting money from the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland, allegedly “creating a regime of fear to pressure its victims into making the payments”, according to a court statement.

The money was said to have been funnelled through institutions in Malaysia and Singapore before being used by the LTTE to buy arms in Sri Lanka – where the group was then locked in a decades-old civil war for Tamil self-determination.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, 12 men were arrested in October under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, or Sosma, for alleged links to the LTTE.

Among other charges, they have been accused of being involved in a plot to revive the LTTE.

All 12 Malaysians have denied the accusations.