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A bill tabled last month to curb human smuggling was the government's response to two ships full of Tamil migrants landing on Canada's shores in the past year. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
A bill tabled last month to curb human smuggling was the government's response to two ships full of Tamil migrants landing on Canada's shores in the past year. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Three accused of smuggling Tamil migrants granted bail by B.C. court Add to ...

Three of four men charged with human smuggling in connection with a freighter that brought Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka to B.C.'s West Coast will be able to return to Toronto after being granted bail.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the men, all refugee claimants in their 30s, can be released on cash deposits and conditions, while he awaits further information before making a decision about the fourth.

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The group was arrested in Toronto last month, almost two years after the ship with 76 men arrived off Vancouver Island.

The evidence presented at the hearing and the judge's reasons for granting bail are under publication ban.

The federal government has touted the case of the Ocean Lady and a second ship of nearly 500 Tamils that sailed into B.C. waters last summer to push for more aggressive laws on human smuggling.

Ottawa alleges many of the migrants are linked to the Tamil Tigers, a banned terrorist organization - an allegation that was not substantiated at hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Charged with human smuggling are: Vignarajah Thevarajah, 33, Francis Anthonimuthu Appulonappa, 33, Hamalraj Handasamy, 39, and Jeyachandran Kanagarajah, 32.

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