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Accused released in Tamil smuggling

Aug 14 2012

The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered the release of two Ontario men charged in the smuggling into Canada of 492 Tamils aboard a freighter off the B.C. coast.

Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam were charged in June with organizing illegal entry into Canada in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

They were brought to B.C. and appeared in a Vancouver courtroom Monday following an application to be released on bail.

The reasons for judgment of B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Brenda Brown ordering the release of the two men cannot be reported due to a publication ban.

Mahendran was released on a $25,000 surety and a number of conditions including that he remain in Ontario and not change his residence without permission and that he surrender his Canadian passport and any visas or travel documents.

Rajaratnam is to be released on a $10,000 cash deposit with three named sureties. He must also remain in Ontario and surrender his passport.

The two men, both wearing red prison-issue clothing, were also ordered to refrain from contacting any of the other four accused in the smuggling.

The accused are charged with organizing the smuggling of the Tamils aboard the MV Sun Sea between August 2009 and Aug. 13, 2010, when the ship arrived in Esquimalt.

The passengers were picked up in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand.

The other four accused have not yet had bail hearings. The next court appearance in the case is set for Aug. 29. No trial date has yet been set.

As of April 30, six out of the 492 asylum seekers had been accepted as refugees and 19 had been issued deportation orders.

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