US judge reduces jail sentence on three LTTE members

Federal prosecutors informed Dearie this month that the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office had reached an agreement with lawyers for the three men which calls for essentially dropping the arms deal charge.Their conviction for providing material support to a terrorist organization will remain along with the 15-year prison term.As part of the agreement, the three men will be deported to Canada after completing their sentences. Dearie was referring to the 25-year prison terms he was mandated to give to Canadian nationals Sathajhan Sarachandran, Sahilal Sabaratnam, Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam in 2011 for conspiring to acquire surface-to-air missiles on behalf of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group fighting against the government of Sri Lanka. The men filed a lawsuit in 2012 in Brooklyn Federal Court seeking a reduction in their sentences and disclosed details about the civil war chaos in their homeland — including the deaths of dozens of innocent children in a Sri Lankan air strike. Three men convicted in the US of being LTTE members are getting their sentences reduced by 10 years after a Brooklyn judge revealed that he had been “haunted” by the case, the New York Daily News reported.“I just believe in my heart of hearts that an injustice has been done and I can’t correct it,” Federal Judge Raymond Dearie said, according to a transcript of a July 15, 2015 conference with prosecutors and defense lawyers. The Tamil Tigers were designated a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 by the U.S. State Department. The judge said he called the meeting after receiving a letter from the 13-year-old daughter of one of the defendants begging him to intercede with federal officials who were not allowing her to visit her father behind bars.Law enforcement sources familiar with the case said the agreement does not reflect any change in the government’s position that the Tamil Tigers are a terror group or the trio’s participation in an arms deal.It will merely recognize that the judge could have granted the men relief in their civil action. (Colombo Gazette) Lawyers for the men say they were deeply moved by Dearie’s words.“It was an extraordinary measure by an extraordinary judge to repair something that everyone agrees was an injustice,” lawyer Anthony Ricco, who represented Sarachandran in the case, told The Daily News.Dearie issued an order Wednesday for all the parties to appear in his courtroom next week to determine the next step. “Now that we’ve become a little bit more sophisticated in our thinking about what is and is not terrorism, now that we know a lot more about the conflict in Sri Lanka and the horrors visited upon these people, perhaps there’s a way to provide a fair measure of justice to all without condemning these men to essentially a life behind bars,” Dearie said.“This case has just taken over my head,” Dearie added. “To say that I’m troubled is to put it mildly.” read more

Australian industry welcomes government commitment to carbon capture and storage

first_imgGreg Evans, Chief Executive ACALET (COAL21 Fund) and Executive Director – Coal, Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) says the coal industry which funds Australia’s largest private sector commitment to CCS (carbon capture and storage) research and demonstration through the COAL21 Fund welcomes the A$25 million Research Development and Demonstration Fund announced by the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane.“Ongoing investment in research, development and demonstration in CCS technologies is vital along with the swelling investment in modern, clean and efficient coal power stations which is occurring at a rapid rate throughout Asia.“In Australia we have already had great success in CCS related research and demonstration through the COAL21 Fund and other initiatives. Those projects have included:The Callide OxyFuel Project in Queensland developing and demonstrating carbon capture using the oxyfuel technology, operating in carbon capture mode for over 10,000 hoursNumerous projects in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia working towards demonstrating the local geology such as – the NSW Storage Project, Carbon Geostorage Initiative, CTSCo, Carbonnet, Collie South West HubANLEC R&D who are working with Australian researchers including CSIRO and Australian universities to further the R&D in support of CCS.“Internationally, CCS is growing strongly with 22 large scale projects operating or under construction while SaskPower’s Boundary Dam coal power station in Canada is achieving 90% CO2 emission reductions in its first few months of operation, some 1 Mt/y of CO2. That’s the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road annually.“The focus of the announced program to include research priorities in subsurface knowledge and mapping, transport infrastructure, and development of international collaboration and partnerships is sensible.“ACALET (which manages the COAL21 Fund) and the Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s continued support of CCS as a fundamental technology in achieving Australian and global emissions targets. As Minister Macfarlane points out, Australia’s energy resources are one of our most significant competitive advantages and further research and development in low emissions energy sources will strengthen Australia’s role as an energy superpower.last_img read more