News East West
TORONTO: The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), which sued Sri Lankan-born international terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna for linking it to the LTTE, has been awarded $53,000 by a Canadian court.
In a February 2011 article published by Lakbima News titled “Gunaratna says only 1400 people died in final war, warns Canada is emerging as a LTTE hub,” Gunaratna was quoted as saying, “The LTTE is operating under the name of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which is the main LTTE front organization in Canada.”
Gunaratna had also written that “the Canadian government is aware of this and currently investigating.”
The Toronto-based Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) filed a defamation case against Rohan Gunaratna for linking it to the LTTE.
Now in his judgment, Justice Stephen E. Firestone of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto has ruled in favour of the Canadian Tamil Congress, awarding it $37,000 in general damages and imposing $16,000 in costs on Gunaratna.
In his ruling, Justice Firestone said Gunaratna’s statements “were clearly defamatory, either directly or by innuendo, because they imply CTC is involved in the commission of violent and illegal activity…it is unequivocal and uncontroverted that these statements were, in fact, false and untrue.’’
Reacting to the verdict, the Canadian Tamil Congress said Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, was part of the Sri Lankan government’s “smear campaign prior to the final military onslaught of May 2009 in Northern Sri Lanka which resulted, according to UN estimates, in the massacre of 40,000 to 70,000 Tamils.’’
CTC spokesman David Poopalapillai said, “The Court’s decision is a vindication to CTC and its members and supporters. The surest way to attempt to destroy an ethnic group is to make its members afraid to even admit that they are part of that group for fear of being labelled terrorist sympathizers or terrorists themselves.
“The Sri Lankan government and its sympathizers have labelled all Tamils as terrorists for far too long—this judgment is a victory not only for CTC but for Tamils everywhere.’’
The CTC is the representative body of over 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada – the largest Tamil diaspora group outside of Sri Lanka.
Gunaratna is a globally known terrorism expert who often speaks on major networks, including CNN.