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Second Circuit — Terrorism: United States v. Thavaraja

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


Material Support — Sentencing — Mitigating Factors

United States v. Thavaraja
Judges Walker, Livingston and Chin

Background: The defendant, a Sri Lankan native, was the principal procurement officer for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a foreign terrorist organization. He was detained in Indonesia and extradited to the United States. He pled guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and bribe public officials. He was sentenced to 108 months imprisonment. The government challenges the substantive reasonableness of the defendant’s sentence, which was a substantial downward variation from the guideline’s range.

Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed. The court noted a number of mitigating circumstances present in the underlying facts of the case. Of note was that the defendant was motivated by a desire to help the Tamil people and that he was caught in an ongoing civil war, which involved serious human rights violations on both sides of the conflict. Also, while he was incarcerated, the defendant was a model inmate.

Alexander Solomon, assistant United States attorney, for the appellant; Michael H. Sporin for the defendant-appellee