U.S. Supreme Court Decision Upholds Government Ban on Legal Advice to the LTTE and Other Terrorist Groups

Jun 25, 2010, 13:59 ET from Government of Sri Lanka

Decision a Defeat for LTTE, Hezbollah, and Groups Providing Any Assistance to Terrorist Organizations

WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A U.S. Supreme Court decision has upheld a federal law that makes it a crime to provide "material support" to the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) and other violent groups designated terrorist organizations by the United States. The decision is a victory for the Government of Sri Lanka and other nations that have cautioned that any support for groups such as the LTTE encourages terrorist activity.

The Court's 6-3 decision is a positive step forward for the Sri Lankan government as the nation continues to progress into a new era of peace, reconciliation and prosperity after enduring decades of war with the LTTE terrorists. The decision upheld the constitutionality of a U.S. law banning any assistance—training, expert advice, service and aid—to groups the State Department   labeled terrorist organizations.

The Court rejected arguments from several groups that maintained their assistance to LTTE was simply teaching international law and consulting on UN matters, noting that this aid frees up other resources within the organization that may be used for violent activities.

"Material support of a terrorist group's lawful activities facilitates the group's ability to attract 'funds,' 'financing' and 'goods' that will further its terrorist acts," Chief Justice John Roberts   wrote for the majority. "It also importantly helps lend legitimacy to foreign terrorist groups—legitimacy that makes it easier for those groups to persist, to recruit members, and to raise funds—all of which facilitate more terrorist attacks," Roberts wrote.

Fordham Law School Professor Annemarie McAvoy supported the Chief Justice's argument. "By helping the terrorists, even tangentially, they're freeing up the terrorists to focus on other things, such as violent attacks."

The Supreme Court ruling ended a 12-year complicated legal battle brought about by two individuals and six organizations on behalf of the LTTE, which the State Department designated as a terrorist group in 1997.

More information: Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

This has been distributed by Qorvis Communications, LLC on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka.  More information is available at the United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

SOURCE Government of Sri Lanka