Hamas should remain on terror blacklist, says European Union court

The towers of the European Court of Justice are seen in Luxembourg

It said its verdict reaffirmed that the European Union "may maintain a person or an entity on the list if it concludes that there is an ongoing risk of that person or entity being involved in the terrorist activities which justified their initial listing".

In an opinion a year ago, 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. However the decision was annulled on procedural grounds by an European Union court in 2014.

In the 2016 recommendation, Advocate-General Eleanor Sharpston said that the European Union governments should independently present evidence on attacks perpetrated by the groups, and that information from outside countries such as the United States was not sufficient.

The Luxembourg-based court ruled that the 2014 agreement was "incompatible with the fundamental rights recognised by the EU", because it would have meant individuals' sensitive personal data being held for five years, even where there was no indication they were involved in illegal activities.




ECJ Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston in September joined those demanding Hamas be dropped from the "terror" list. The application was an appeal for a stay of execution, to set aside both decisions. A final ECJ ruling is expected after the summer break. She said that the EU's stance on keeping Hamas on the blacklist was "not sufficient".

Hamas opposed the sanctions from the start, alluding to its democratic mandate and arguing that it has the right to conduct military operations against the Israeli occupation.

For the last decade, Hamas has been the de facto government of Gaza, while the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has controlled the West Bank.

Neither Hamas nor Israel had an immediate reaction.

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