2 Men in Court on Charges They Aided Sri Lankan Terrorists
Two men extradited from Canada on charges of supporting a Sri Lankan rebel group that has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States were ordered held without bond Thursday during an appearance in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
The two men, who were born in Sri Lanka and became naturalized Canadian citizens, had been sought by the United States since 2006. Each has been charged with conspiring to provide material support to the Tamil Tigers, the separatist group that was defeated three years ago after more than 25 years of insurgency.
The men’s fight against extradition ended this month after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed their appeals, clearing the way for them to be sent to the United States.
One defendant, Piratheepan Nadarajah, 36, also faces charges of conspiring to acquire antiaircraft missiles for the group, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said Mr. Nadarajah and several co-conspirators had engaged in negotiations in 2006 with an undercover F.B.I. agent to buy twenty SA-18 heat-seeking missiles, 10 missile launchers and 500 AK-47 assault rifles. The other defendant, Suresh Sriskandarajah, 32, assisted Tamil officials in researching and acquiring aviation equipment, submarine and warship design software and communications equipment, a criminal complaint charged.
Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, said the defendants “were part of the cycle of sophisticated arms and large sums of money that fueled” the Tamil Tigers, an organization that authorities said had used suicide bombings and political assassinations. Mr. Nadarajah and Mr. Sriskandarajah were both wearing khaki jumpsuits and were cuffed at the ankles when they entered not-guilty pleas before Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom. A bail hearing was set for Jan. 9.
Mr. Nadarajah’s lawyer, Sam A. Schmidt, said later by phone that his client was “an honorable hardworking family man who has demonstrated his responsibility to the courts in Canada.”
Joshua L. Dratel, a lawyer for Mr. Sriskandarajah said: “He’s gone through this process for six years; this is another chapter that we’ll have to overcome.”
After the proceeding, Mr. Dratel asked the judge to allow his client’s mother, who had traveled to New York from Canada, to greet her son. They were allowed to exchange a few words across a short distance in the courtroom, with the mother visibly weeping.