Eight Norwegian Tamils indicted for vandalism at Sri Lankan Embassy

The Oslo District Court indicted eight Tamils of Sri Lankan origin for vandalism against Sri Lankan Embassy last year in Norway.

Prasanna Petkunam, Anthony Johananthan Theverajah, Krishnakumar Tharmalingam, Inbarajah Thavarasa, Sajeenthan Parvathythasan, Vidussan Suresh, Jeswanth Pushparajah and Gouwtham Karunakaran are names of those prosecuted.

Vandalism at the embassy occurred after several hundred Tamils had held a series of peaceful demonstrations outside the parliament, the prime minister’s residence, and other government quarters in protest against the war in their homeland.

This was the period of the Sri Lankan government’s last offensive against the Tamil Tiger guerillas. The demonstrators entered the Embassy premises at Nedre Vollgate in Oslo, on April 12, 2009.

They threw stones at the main door of the embassy building. Several of the windows around the building and the door were broken.

All the accused are teenagers or in their twenties. “They are young. Two of them were under eighteen years at Easter,” said District Attorney Marit Bakkevig at the National Public Prosecutor’s office. Bakkevig believe embassy attack appears to be impulsive.

The prosecution said the demonstrators broke a hole in the front door of the Sri Lankan Embassy and went into the embassy premises where damage was done by breaking a glass door to the inner premises, breaking the windows in the reception and damaging a computer, various pictures and other objects belonging to the embassy.

“Those who are prosecuted, we believe, had been inside the door at the embassy and carried out damage to the premises,” said the public prosecutor.

One of the defendants was an asylum seeker at the embassy when the attack occurred, said Bakkevig.

Seven of those charged with both serious vandalism and violation of another state’s territory, while one is only charged with having violated another state’s territory.

The accused risk punishment with up to seven years in prison if they are found guilty.

When the investigation was ongoing, it was only one of those now accused who had desired a defender, said prosecutors. All others will be appointed a defender from the Oslo City Court, where the case will be processed.

It is noteworthy that 7 out of the 8 accused in the Embassy attack are unable to get attorneys to defend themselves, which is attributed to the strong resentment of the actions of the perpetrators in the Norwegian society.

The Tamil community of Norway has by and large distanced themselves from the attackers of the Sri Lanka Embassy. They feel that the dastardly attack had irreparably tarnished the good image of the Norwegian Tamil community which many of whom had painstakingly worked over the past 2-3 decades in building a good reputation and making a decent living.

“I take a strong stance on the people who illegally broke into the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oslo, and conducted extensive damage,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store soon after the attack.

“This violates Norwegian law, and is a tool that is completely unacceptable,” said the Foreign Minister.

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