By Stewart Bell/ National Post –
A Canadian who pleaded guilty to terrorism conspiracy for his role in a 2006 plot to supply separatist rebels in Sri Lanka was sentenced in a Brooklyn, N.Y. court on Monday to time served.
The sentence marks the end of a case that began six years ago, when Ramanan Mylvaganam, 35, was arrested by RCMP officers near Toronto and eventually extradited to the United States to stand trial.
On Feb. 8, he pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He was tried in the U.S. because the offences occurred partly while he was working in Washington State.
U.S. prosecutors had been seeking a 15-year prison sentence for Mylvaganam, arguing he had committed “a gravely serious offence” by attempting to procure equipment for the Tamil Tigers rebel group.
But the defence had asked the judge to sentence him to time served and release him, emphasizing that the Sri Lankan civil war at the heart of the case was over and the crime was an “isolated transgression” by the Ontario man.
It was unclear when Mylvaganam would return to Canada, where has lived since fleeing Sri Lanka at age 12. He studied at the University of Waterloo, where he was vice-president of the Tamil Students Association.
His alleged co-conspirator, Suresh Sriskandarajah, who was president of the student association, has been ordered to stand trial in the U.S. but has appealed his extradition order to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Six Canadians were arrested in August 2006 following a joint FBI-RCMP investigation into a suspected international network that was supplying the Tamil rebels. At the time, separatist rebels known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, were fighting for independence on the small island off the southern tip of India. Three other Canadians have already pleaded guilty to attempting to buy arms for the rebels in a related case.