Court says EU wrongly froze assets of Saudi man

Updated 12 August 2013
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Court says EU wrongly froze assets of Saudi man

PARIS: The European Union’s top court ruled Thursday that EU authorities unfairly froze assets of a Saudi businessman who was accused of financing Al-Qaeda, by failing to explain why he was targeted.
The European Court of Justice upheld a lower European court ruling in the case of Yassin Al-Qadi, rejecting an appeal by EU and British authorities.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Al-Qadi’s charitable Muwafaq foundation was identified by the US Treasury Department as an Al-Qaeda front and placed on a terror list in October 2001. The United States, the EU, Switzerland and Turkey all took action against Kadi, following a UN anti-terror order obliging UN member states to freeze assets of people and entities suspected of funding terror groups.
Al-Qadi denied financing terrorism, and said his foundation closed before the Sept. 11 attacks. He has fought legal battles for years against the asset freezes, and was removed last year from the UN blacklist of people under sanctions for suspected Al-Qaeda funding.
In 2008, the European General Court ruled that putting Al-Qadi’s name on the terrorist list infringed some of his rights under EU law, such as his right to defense and judicial protection.
EU and British authorities appealed that ruling.
In Thursday’s announcement, the European Court of Justice sided with the lower court, and argued that suspects need to be informed of why they are being listed and have a chance to contest it.
“The Court holds that, since no information or evidence has been produced to substantiate the allegations, roundly refuted by Mr. Al-Qadi, of his being involved in activities linked to international terrorism, those allegations are not such as to justify the adoption, at European Union level, of restrictive measures against him,” the court said in a statement.
Authorities, however, sometimes want to keep information about a terrorist suspect confidential for security reasons. The court said that in such cases, it is up to EU courts to assess whether and when it’s appropriate to withhold that information from the suspect.


Taliban close Afghan health facilities run by Swedish group

Updated 11 min ago
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Taliban close Afghan health facilities run by Swedish group

  • Taliban raided one of the NGO’s clinics last week in which 4 people died
  • The NGO said closing the clinics will affect 6,000 patients

KABUL: A Swedish non-governmental organization in Afghanistan says the Taliban have forced the closure of 42 health facilities run by the non-profit group in eastern Maidan Wardan province.
Parwiz Ahmad Faizi, communications manager at the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, said on Wednesday the facilities were closed after Afghan forces raided a clinic run by the NGO in Daimirdad district last week. Troops were looking for suspected Taliban fighters.
The committee says two staff members, a guard and a lab worker, and two other people were killed in the attack. A fifth person is missing.
Insurgents contacted the staff and ordered the NGO to shut down. Faizi says the closures will affect health services for around 6,000 patients, particularly women and children.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the closure of the facilities.