The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), was awarded $53,000 today in a successful defamation lawsuit against the head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyyang Technological University in Singapore, Rohan Gunaratna.
Justice Stephen E Firestone of the Ontario Superior court ruled in favour of CTC after a case was filed on 21 January 2014 against remarks made by Gunaratna that labelled the CTC as a LTTE proxy.
Expanding on the reasons behind the verdict, Justice Firestone commented on Gunaratna’s remarks to Sri Lankan press, stating,
“the 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.”
The National Spokesperson for CTC, David Poopalapillai, commenting on the court verdict, said,
“The court's decision is 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 sympathisers or terrorists themselves."
He further added,
"The Sri Lankan government and its sympathisers have labelled all Tamils as terrorists for far too long. This judgement is a victory not only for CTC but for Tamils everywhere.”
A recent upper tribunal country guidance case on Sri Lanka, held in the UK also declared that Gunaratna was 'an insider in relation to the Government of Sri Lanka, and his views are interesting as a reflection of its mindset."
In February 2011 Gunaratna labelled the CTC as a proxy organisation for the LTTE, and was quoted in an article entitled “Gunaratna says only 1400 people died in final war, warns Canada is emerging as a LTTE hub”
Speaking to the paper, Lakbima news, he said,
“The LTTE is operating under the name of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which is the main LTTE front organisation in Canada. The Canadian government is aware of this and currently investigating.”