Two more men face charges for smuggling Tamil asylum seekers into Canada two years ago aboard the MV Sun Sea.
Kunarobinson Christhurajah and Lesly Jana Emmanuel each face one count of organizing entry into Canada contrary to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for allegedly planning the trip that brought 492 Tamil migrants from Thailand to Victoria in 2010 aboard a rusty 59-metre-long cargo ship.
Both men were arrested in B.C. and were scheduled to make a first appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court Wednesday, May 16.
Their arrests come a month after Thayakaran Markandu was taken into custody in France. Markandu was the first person charged in connection with the MV Sun Sea case. He is currently awaiting extradition to Canada.
“The investigation into the arrival of the MV Sun Sea and those responsible for the organization of the illegal entry into Canada remains a priority for the RCMP,” said Supt. Derek Simmonds, the officer-in-charge of B.C.’s Federal Border Integrity Program. “RCMP Federal investigators continue to work with international partners, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to ensure all of the evidence that can be gathered is secured and ready to be presented to the Courts.”
All 492 Tamil migrants found on board the MV Sun Sea have all made refugee claims.
The Tamils were fleeing violence in their home country of Sri Lanka which was mired in a civil war for almost three decades.
Many of the women and men were held in two Maple Ridge provincial prisons while federal agencies processed them.
As of April 30, six men, who Canadian authorities allege were the ship’s crew, remain in custody at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.
Of the 492 passengers, six have been accepted as refugees, while six have had their claims denied. The federal government has also accused some of the passengers of having ties to a banned terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Thus far, 19 people have been issued deportation orders.
Human smuggling carries a penalty of life imprisonment and, or a $1-million fine.