United States v. Thavaraja, No. 12-4330 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Defendant pled guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Defendant, a Sri Lankan native, was the principal procurement officer for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a foreign terrorist organization. On appeal, the Government challenged defendant's 108 months prison sentence as substantively unreasonable. The district court had found many mitigating circumstances: defendant was motivated not by power or self-aggrandizement, but by a desire to help the Tamil people; defendant's actions had to be evaluated in context where he was caught in an ongoing civil war with serious human rights violations on both sides of the conflict; defendant did not have a criminal record; defendant had accepted full responsibility for his crimes; during the six years of his incarceration, defendant was a model inmate who earned the gratitude of other prisoners by his efforts to teach them math and other subjects; as well as other considerations. The court concluded that, in light of defendant's personal history and characteristics, the nature and circumstances of his crimes, and all of the relevant factors, the sentence imposed was not substantively unreasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.