TGTE (Transnational Government of Tamil Ealam) members have presented the Home Secretary with legal arguments and evidence in support of their application to have the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE) removed from the list of organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act in the UK.
The TGTE is seeking to have the ban on the LTTE lifted on the basis that the LTTE is not ‘concerned in terrorism’, and that the ban interferes with the rights of the Tamil community to engage in public debate about the position of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Their representations include expert evidence from political scientist Professor Mampilly of City University of New York, and Peter Schalk, a retired expert in the history of religions at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. The representations also include powerful evidence from a number of Tamil activists whose political campaigning has been adversely affected by the LTTE’s proscription.
The Home Secretary now has 90 days to consider the arguments advanced on behalf of the TGTE and to make a decision as to whether or not the LTTE will continue to be proscribed. The decision is expected no later than 31 August 2021.
The opportunity to make these arguments arose following the TGTE members’ successful appeal to the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC) against the Home Secretary’s previous refusal to de-proscribe the LTTE. In its judgment, handed down on 21 October 2020, the POAC found that the information presented to the Home Secretary when he (at the time) made his decision to maintain the LTTE on the list of proscribed organisations ‘materially misstated’ the conclusions reached by the Proscription Review Group (the expert body whose role it is to assess the threat posed by groups who are considered for proscription under the Terrorism Act 2011). The POAC also found that the submission inaccurately summarised the views of JTAC (Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre). The POAC therefore concluded that the decision to retain the LTTE on the list of proscribed organisations was unlawful.
Following the judgment, on 18 February 2021, the POAC accepted an undertaking by the Home Secretary to reconsider the TGTE’s application to de-proscribe the LTTE, taking into account further representations by members of the TGTE.
The TGTE is represented by Maya Lester QC and Malcolm Birdling of Brick Court Chambers along with Jamie Potter and Caroline Robinson of Bindmans LLP.
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