The Court of Appeal for British Columbia has upheld a six month prison sentence imposed on a former Sri Lankan refugee in Canada for terrorist activity financing. In 2008, Prapaharan Thambaithurai solicited funds from members of the Tamil community in Vancouver to support the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a designated terrorist group in Canada and many other countries. In 2004, Thambaithurai was a member of the World Tamil Movement, also a designated terrorist group in Canada. He was arrested in 2008 and admitted that he knew the funds raised would be used to support the LTTE.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia had earlier sentenced Thambaithurai to six months in jail. On appeal, the Crown argued that the sentence was unfit given the seriousness of the offence and the harm posed by terrorist financing activity. It also argued that pursuant to Canada’s international obligations to deter terrorism, courts in Canada must ensure that sentences for terrorist activity financing are sufficiently harsh to further counter terrorist financing objectives.
The Court of Appeal held that the sentence of six months incarceration was appropriate for Thambaithurai because his terrorist financing activities fell at the low end of the scale of such activities and the conviction would have long lasting effects for him because it would interfere with his ability to travel beyond Canada.