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US arrests eight Tamil Tigers on terrorism, bribery charges

[JURIST] US officials have arrested eight people for allegedly attempting to buy weapons to use against the Sri Lankan military, and for attempting to bribe US State Department officials to remove their organization from the State Department's list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations [DS materials]. Following the arrests, federal prosecutors unsealed two criminal complaints Monday against eight members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [CFR backgrounder; faction website], or the Tamil Tigers, charging the defendants with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists under 18 USC 2339(b) [text], violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) [text], and conspiracy to bribe public officials, 18 USC 201 [text].

Four of the defendants are Canadians [CP report] who were arrested in Brooklyn while attempting to purchase surface-to-air missiles and AK-47 rifles to use against the Sri Lankan military. The Tamil Tigers have been accused of carrying out suicide bombings and assassinations in Sri Lanka in a fight to establish an independent state for minority ethnic Tamils. Read the DOJ press release. AP has more.

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