New York: Intelsat Ltd., the world’s largest commercial satellite operator, has shut down a company satellite transponder that it said Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers rebel group had used without authorization to broadcast television and radio in Europe and Asia.
Phillip Spector, Intelsat’s executive vice president and general counsel, said on 24 April the Intelsat transponder used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was shut down last weekend.
The Tamil Tigers, branded a terrorist group by Washington since 1997, have been fighting for decades to establish independence in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Since 1983 the war on the Indian Ocean island has killed some 68,000 people.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington said in a statement the Tamil Tigers had been broadcasting through the satellite since March 2005. It said Intelsat had acquired the satellite in July 2006.
The embassy said Sri Lankan telecommunication authorities told the company in March that the Tamil Tigers were using its satellite and then Colombo also raised the matter at a meeting of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization.
In a statement released earlier this month, Intelsat described the Tamil Tigers use of its satellite as “unauthorized” and said it “does not tolerate terrorists or others operating illegally on its satellites”.