Australian Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has authorized the extradition of a Tamil, wanted by the US on offshore terrorism charges, despite his fears he will be deported to Sri Lanka and punished.

Thulasitharan Santhirarajah, former head of the Melbourne International College, has spent four years in custody, most of that time awaiting a decision by the federal government on whether to support his US prosecution over alleged links to the Tamil Tigers.

Roxon signed the extradition order in February, sparking a legal challenge by the man’s lawyers, who insist he has never been a threat to the US or Australia and that the alleged offences are more political than security-related.

A Federal Court judge has heard the case from both sides and is considering his decision.

Santhirarajah, 38, is a Sri Lankan citizen who came to Australia on a short-term business visa and later sought permanent residency. In 2006, he married a Sri Lankan-born Australian citizen – who was granted refugee status on the grounds she was a Tamil – and they have a five-year-old son. He was arrested in July 2008, amid raids conducted by the Australian Federal Police at the request of the FBI, and accused of having actively supported the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (The Australian)

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