A top European Union court has ruled in favor of the People’s Mujahideen of Iran organization, which is a group opposed the Iranian regime and currently listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. The group was recently de-listed in the United Kingdom by court order.
The Court of First Instance in Luxembourg found the European Union at fault in freezing the group’s assets and said that the EU had violated the group’s rights by not providing them with the information used to justify the action:
“By refusing to communicate to the court certain information about the case, the (EU) has equally infringed the fundamental right of the PMOI to effective judicial protection,” it said.
It was the third such ruling by the court, which is Europe’s second-highest tribunal. The EU now has the choice of lifting the freeze, striking the group off its list or appealing against the decision.
Some history on the legal battle:
“The EU first decided to put the group on its list of people and entities whose assets should be frozen in May 2002, citing the move as part of its efforts to combat “terrorism”.
The move was based on EU measures implemented to respect a UN Security Council resolution drawn up in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, which required countries to crack down on terror funding.
This decision was annulled by the court in December 2006, but owing to the fact that the terror list is updated roughly every six months, the PMOI was struck off a list from 2002, but remained on those that followed.
Then in July, the European Council of EU member states placed the Iranian opposition group on its latest terror list citing “new information” on the group, which has not been made public.
But in a second ruling in October, the Court of First Instance ruled that the EU had “failed to give sufficient reasons” to keep the group on the list after a British court decision to remove them from its national list.”
The MEK has been arguing long and hard that it is not a terrorist group. Its supporters argue that the group was first listed as a terrorist organization in the U.S. as a way of trying to have better relations with Iran, which had just elected President Khatami. The back-and-forth between the group’s supporters and critics over each allegation against the MEK can be mind-numbing, and it is hard to decipher who is correct.