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EU court keeps Hamas on terror list

25th Aug 2017
EU court keeps Hamas on terror list

Hamas rally in Ramallah, March 2007 (Photo: Hoheit/Wikimedia Commons)

Harun Nasrullah

The European Union’s highest court has kept Palestinian group Hamas on its terror list. The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) decision on July 26 overturns a judgment from a lower European court to remove Hamas from the list in 2014. The ECJ said the General Court “should not have annulled Hamas’ retention on the European list of terrorist organisations”.

In an opinion last year, the ECJ’s Advocate General, Eleanor Sharpston, also recommended Hamas be taken off the blacklist which imposes a ban on funding for terror organisations and travel restrictions on its members.

Sharpston’s non-binding opinion came after claims the terror designation was based on media and internet reports about Hamas’ activities and not evidence gathered through an independent investigation.

But the ECJ’s ruled to keep Hamas on the list after a challenge by the EU Council, which is made up of the bloc’s 28 member states governments.

Hamas said it would challenge the “unfair political decisions against our people and the movement” through legal recourse.

Hamas Leader, Yahya Moussa, said the decision was “disrespectful and completely incomprehensible. The decision may have come under pressure from the court, but the decision seems not to have been addressed,” he said in a statement.

“The case has been referred to the courts lower than the European Court of Justice, so things are not fixed.”

Moussa also urged the Court to pay attention to the “crimes of the Israeli occupation and its violations.”

In May, Hamas issued a new policy document in a bid to rebrand itself with softer positions. In the new document, Hamas said it accepts a Palestinian state alongside Israel, a departure from the founding charter which envisioned that state in place of a defeated Israel.

At the same time, Hamas also upheld its right of armed resistance against the Israeli occupation, noting that its fight is against occupation, not Jews.

Despite retaining Hamas on the list, the ECJ said Sri Lankan separatist group the Tamil Tigers would be taken off the blacklist, upholding the General Court’s decision three years ago.

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