Al-Qadi wins EU appeal, can access funds

The Luxembourg-based EU’s General Court struck down an order
freezing the funds of Al-Qadi, suspected of links with Al-Qaeda, saying that
his rights had been violated.
This is the second major legal victory for Al-Qadi, who was
also acquitted of terror-funding charges by a court in the southern district of
New York on Sept. 15.
The verdict by the European court means that Al-Qadi, whose
assets were frozen in 2001, can now access them within two months unless an
appeal is launched by other EU institutions, according to a copy of the judgment
made available to Arab News.
Belgian Ambassador Michel Lastschenko, whose country holds
the rotating presidency of the EU, refused to comment on the verdict.
“Given the lack of any proper access to the information
and evidence used against him, Al-Qadi has also been unable to defend his
rights with regard to that evidence in satisfactory conditions before the
courts of the European Union, with the result that it must be held that his
right to effective judicial review has also been infringed,” said the
Al-Qadi was subjected to economic sanctions because he was
suspected of ties to terrorism. The US Treasury classified Al-Qadi as a SDGT,
while he was also named in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1267 and
The EU had also applied sanctions to Al-Qadi since then. In
2007, the European Court of Justice overturned sanctions against Al-Qadi by
individual EU governments on the grounds he had not been offered the chance to
seek a judicial review.
In fact, none of the bodies that took action against Al-Qadi
made public any of the evidence leading to the sanctions.
The case in the EU’s General Court, whose judgment was made
on Thursday, dates back to the terrorist attacks on New York on Sept. 11, 2001.
In the wake of the attacks, the UN Security Council ordered the assets of a
number of alleged Al-Qaeda supporters, including Al-Qadi, to be frozen.
The EU implemented that order in Oct. 2001. Al-Qadi
appealed, and after a lengthy legal battle, the EU’s upper court, the European
Court of Justice, ruled in 2008 that his rights had been breached because he
had not been informed of the reasons for his blacklisting. It gave EU
institutions three months to provide the reasons.
Within two months, the European Commission sent Al-Qadi a
summary of the reasons, and re-imposed the asset freeze.
Al-Qadi asked to be shown the evidence leading to the
decision, and when the commission did not send it, he appealed again.
The EU General Court found that the commission “did not
grant (Al-Qadi) even the most minimal access to the evidence against him,”
thereby breaching his right to a fair hearing, and overruled the decision.
Under EU rules, the asset freeze should now expire in two months’ time.

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