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Tamil Tiger advocate told to leave Canada after fiery speech in Toronto – National Post

[MISC, Friday, 27 November 2009 08:30 No Comment]

Canadian immigration officials arrested an Indian man in Toronto on Thursday after he gave a fiery speech at an event where the flag of the outlawed Tamil Tigers rebels was flown.

The Canadian government considers the Tamil Tigers a terrorist organization.

Sebastian Seeman, who was in Canada on a speaking tour, was arrested by Canada Border Services Agency officers and questioned before agreeing to leave the country immediately.

A CBSA spokeswoman, Patricia Giolti, confirmed the arrest, and the man’s lawyer Hadayt Nazami said immigration officials had intended to deport him on security grounds unless he left voluntarily.

He left Canada on Thursday night.

Seeman was scheduled to speak at a Tamil community function Thursday night but was forced to cancel due to his arrest. He was to speak in Montreal on Sunday.

A film director from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Seeman is known for his hardline speeches in support of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers rebels and their fight for independence.

The Tigers were wiped out by the Sri Lankan military in May, ending three decades of civil war but during the final months of the conflict Seeman was arrested several times in India for giving speeches considered inflammatory.

He also was targeted by the Indian news media, after photos surfaced showing him smiling and posing with the late leader of the Tamil Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

During his speech in Toronto on Wednesday, Seeman talked about restarting the civil war in Sri Lanka, according to several Tamil-Canadians who heard it on the radio or watched it on the Internet.

He also spoke harshly about the ethnic Singhala who are the majority in Sri Lanka. “No Singhala can live,” he said, according to the witnesses. He also said the war would have ended differently had the rebels bombed 100 Singhala schools for every Tamil school bombed by the Sri Lankan forces.

In the video of his speech, a flag bearing the militaristic emblem of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, can be seen in the room.

RCMP officers and members of the Toronto and Peel police services were involved in Seeman’s arrest, which comes as police are cracking down on the pro-rebel events that were once common in Toronto.

“I think that’s what the accusation was, to be honest with you, that he was pro-LTTE . . . membership in a terrorist group, whether by association, activity or speeches or we don’t know,” Nazami said.

Nazami said Seeman had denied having any ties to the rebels. He had agreed to leave because CBSA officials intended to detain him until at least Monday, which meant he would miss his speaking events.

[Full Coverage]

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