EU court rejects Hamas challenge over terrorist listing

The EU's General Court on Wednesday rejected a challenge by Hamas against its 2015 listing as a terrorist organization, a decision that made the Palestinian Islamist group liable to EU sanctions, news wires reported. The EU first included Hamas on its terrorist list in late 2001, which resulted in the freezing of assets owned in the bloc. The movement, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, has repeatedly contested the EU's listing decisions.

Among other arguments, Hamas had said that the 2015 decision rested on facts that were not substantiated by any evidence; denied it the right of defence; and infringed upon the group's right to property by freezing its funds.The organization describes itself as "a lawful political movement that won the Palestinian elections and forms the core of the Palestinian government" which should therefore be prevented "from being characterized as a terrorist group." The Luxembourg-based judges dismissed the arguments. Since Hamas is "neither a state nor the government of a state, Hamas cannot benefit from the principle of non-interference," the court said.

Hamas, which is based in Gaza, advocates armed struggle and refuses to recognize Israel, which has long been unwilling to negotiate with the Islamist group.

Wednesday's decision can be appealed before the European Court of Justice, the bloc's top tribunal.


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