Director Seeman arrested and deported from Canada

Updated - November 17, 2021 06:43 am IST

Published - November 27, 2009 10:40 am IST - Colombo

A file picture of Director Seeman. Photo: T. Singaravelo

A file picture of Director Seeman. Photo: T. Singaravelo

Canadian immigration officials arrested and deported Tamil film director, Sebastian Seeman on Thursday night on charges of making inflammatory speech that coincided with the birth anniversary of the LTTE chief, Velupillai Prabakaran.

Canada paper, >National Post in a report said that the film director was on a speaking tour and spoke at an event where the flag of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was flown.

The paper said that Mr. Seeman was taken into custody by Canada Border Services Agency officers and questioned before agreeing to leave the country immediately.

“A CBSA spokeswoman, Patricia Giolti, confirmed the arrest, and his lawyer Hadayt Nazami said immigration officials had intended to deport him on security grounds unless he left voluntarily. He departed Canada on Thursday night.

“Mr. Seeman was scheduled to speak at a Tamil community function last 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, Mr. Seeman is known for his hardline speeches in support of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers rebels and their fight for independence.

The LTTE was militarily defeated in May this year by the Sri Lanka security forces and the body of the Tiger supremo, Velupillai Prabakaran was found on May 19.”

National Post said that during his speech in Toronto on Wednesday, Mr. 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 Sinhala who are the majority in Sri Lanka. ”No Sinhala can live," he said, according to the witnesses. He also said the war would have ended differently had the rebels bombed 100 Sinhala 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. The Tigers are a banned terrorist organization under Canadian law. RCMP officers and members of the Toronto and Peel police services were involved in Mr. Seeman's arrest, which comes as police are cracking down on the pro-rebel events that were once common in Toronto”.

Mr. Seeman's speaking tour coincided with "heroes' day," also known as "martyr's day," an event observed annually in remembrance of the killed Tiger cadres. Friday marks the first `hero’s day’ without the physical presence of Velupillai Prabakaran.

National Post said, “Police have been investigating Tamil Tigers activities in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver since 2002. The investigation concluded that pro-rebel groups in Canada had funnelled millions of dollars to the Tigers.

“RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said in a speech last month that while the Sri Lankan insurgency had ended, the Tamil Tigers remained a terrorist group that could have a significant impact in Canada.

"There are an estimated 250,000 Tamils in this country, more than anywhere else in the world outside of Sri Lanka. Canada is one of the few places in the world where LTTE terrorists and supporters might seek to hide in plain sight, and potentially launch terrorist activities," he said.

Mr. Seeman entered Canada on Monday. He was travelling on a visa issued last month by the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi”.

The so-called `Tamil Eelam's National Heroes Days’ was organised by the LTTE for the three days and on the last day Prabakaran delivered the `Hero’s Day’ address, seen as a policy statement of the Tigers.

In his 2008 speech while conveying his love and gratitude to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and leaders of India, the LTTE leader V.Prabakaran had requested them to voice firmly for Tamil Eelam and to take measures to remove the ban, a great hindrance to amicable relationship between India and the LTTE. “At no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question”, he had said.

The LTTE leader also requested the world powers to remove the ban on it, citing that the LTTE never schemed any act against any country and the Tamil struggle is not against the geopolitical, national or economic interests of any country.

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