Following the arrest of two men in Melbourne on terror related charges the Socialist Party issued the following statement.
Commenting on the arrest of two men yesterday for allegedly fundraising for the Tamil Tigers, Socialist Party National Organiser Anthony Main said “We are extremely concerned that people are being arrested for fundraising for political parties in another country.
“Many organisations raised money for people in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, including the Socialist Party, we had to because, especially for people in the Tamil areas the aid wasn’t getting through. We are interested in seeing the evidence the police have against these two men.
“The fact that details of the charges still haven’t been provided to the lawyers suggests that the evidence may well be thin. We are also concerned that the presumption of innocence had been undermined by the police holding a press conference even before the men appeared in court. Perhaps this was to strengthen their case to the public.
“What the Australian public needs to understand is that there is a bloody civil war taking place in Sri Lanka and it is not just the Tamil Tigers involved in terrorist activities. It is common knowledge that the Sri Lankan government has been behind hundreds of assassinations and kidnappings in recent months.
“When the senior government minister De Silva visited Australia in February he met with both Howard and Bracks. Obviously at the same time as raising funds for his own purposes, he was putting pressure on them to crack down on the Tamil community here. We have been well aware of the police investigation taking place as I myself was asked to meet with the police to answer some questions. We have refused this request.
“My political associates in Sri Lanka are receiving death threats on a daily basis and have on a few occasions narrowly escaped attacks. The Socialist Party is in the process of gathering intelligence information that will prove that some of these death threats are coming from government supporters here in Melbourne. When we make this available we expect the police and the federal government to act in the same swift manner against the supporters of state sponsored terror.
“Whilst we don’t agree with the terror tactics that the Tigers are using we totally support the right of the Tamil people to have there own homeland if they wish. The oppression that not only the Tamils but also trade unionists and anti war activists are facing in Sri Lanka is something else. Howard has spent millions of dollars on the ‘war against terror’ I want to know what he is doing about the state terror being unleashed against ordinary people in Sri Lanka. This is total hypocrisy from the Howard government” Anthony said.