London

Enfield doctor who aided Tamil Tigers wants job back

GMC headquarters
Image caption The medical regulator has argued to uphold the doctor's suspension

A Sri Lankan doctor jailed in the United States for aiding Tamil Tigers rebels has asked to be allowed to return to work in north London.

Dr Murugesu Vinayagamoorthy spent four and a half years, from 2006, in a US prison for providing material support to the proscribed organisation.

He now wants to return to his practice in Enfield, the General Medical Council (GMC) heard.

He denies having been a member of the Tamil Tigers.

'Child soldiers'

Dr Vinayagamoorthy, 62, has been suspended from practising at the surgery in Edmonton he shares with his wife Pushpam.

The GMC argued that his fitness to practise had been impaired because of his conviction and involvement with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) which had "stepped wildly beyond any reasonable boundary".

A disciplinary hearing in Manchester heard that Dr Vinayagamoorthy was detained following a taped conversation with undercover agents in the US who were purporting to be State Department officials.

The doctor was said to have remarked: "As far as suicide bombing, there was no option. We had to achieve what we want to achieve."

He went on: "A few child soldiers are alright, a lot was really bad."

'Unease with doctor'

It was alleged he attempted to bribe the supposed officials into removing the LTTE from the country's list of designated foreign terrorist organisations.

He was also accused of operating the bank accounts of a man who was in charge of arms procurement for the organisation.

At the GMC hearing he admitted passing details of the payment required for the bribe on to the group.

He denied being an LTTE member, however.

Charles Garside QC, for the GMC, said: "My fundamental submission is that a doctor who so far departs from moral and ethical standards as to actively support a terrorist organisation is impaired."

He outlined the history of the LTTE's guerrilla separatist war against the Sinhalese government in which suicide bombing was used.

"The doctor practises in London, a very multi-racial city including Sinhalese and Tamil people," he said.

"A substantial number of people would feel unease at consulting a doctor who was convicted of offences in relation to terrorism."

The hearing continues.

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