POLITICS
02/08/2012 09:02 EST | Updated 04/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Ramanan Mylvaganam Terror Trial: Canadian Pleads Guilty In New York To Providing Material Support To Tamil Tigers

CP

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A former University of Waterloo student has pleaded guilty in a New York district court to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group in Sri Lanka.

The FBI says Ramanan Mylvaganam pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with his attempt to procure sophisticated technology for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

According to court documents, in March 2006, Mylvaganam conspired to purchase approximately $22,000 worth of submarine design software for the Tamil Tigers.

Mylvaganam also attempted to purchase night vision equipment for the LTTE from a company in British Columbia, the FBI says.

The FBI says Mylvaganam falsely told the company's representative that the night vision equipment was for a university design project he was doing.

Mylvaganam faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The Tamil Tigers waged a bloody civil war for an independent homeland in Sri Lanka for 26 years before their defeat by the government in 2009. The group is declared a terrorist organization in both Canada and the U.S.

Mylvaganam, who previously lived in the United States, was extradited from Canada in 2009, following his indictment in the Eastern District of New York.

"The defendant conspired to provide sophisticated technological equipment to the LTTE, a foreign terrorist organization that has carried out brutal acts of violence against numerous civilians and elected officials," said Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

"We will use all resources at our disposal to bring terrorist organizations and their supporters to justice."

Two other Canadians are wanted in the U.S. to stand trial on charges they provided assistance to the Tamil Tigers.

Suresh Sriskandarajah, an accomplished student with several degrees from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, is alleged to have acquired aviation equipment, submarine and warship design software and other communications equipment for members of the Tamil Tigers. He is also alleged to have laundered money for the group and to have counselled members on how to smuggle goods.

Sriskandarajah came to Canada from northern Sri Lanka as a boy and has said he only wanted to help young people there after the devastation of the war.

He was arrested in 2006 after a joint FBI-RCMP investigation portrayed him as the leader of four suspected terrorist supporters.

One of them, Piratheepan Nadarajah, is alleged to have tried to buy surface-to-air missiles and AK-47s on behalf of the Tamil Tigers from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a black-market arms dealer.

Both Nadarajah and Sriskandarajah have been ordered extradited to the United States.

A senior FBI official said material support in the U.S. for foreign terrorist organizations can have lethal consequences.

"That is why the FBI takes seriously the responsibility to prevent it and do all we can to protect the safety of people around the globe,” said Janice K. Fedarcyk.