20th Nov 2019

EU wins first test of 'terrorist cases'

Member states must freeze the funds of all individuals named on UN lists of suspected terrorists without judicial review, according to a verdict from the European court of first instance in Luxembourg on Wednesday (21 September).

It is the first of the so-called "terrorist cases" to be tested, and the Court in Luxembourg ruled in favour of the EU. The complaints of the plaintiff, Ahmed Yusuf Ali, were rejected.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Ahmed Yusuf Ali's funds were blocked with immediate effect in November 2001, after his name had appeared on a list of persons suspected to be linked to terrorists.

Since 1999, the UN Security Council has adopted numerous Resolutions regarding organisations with suspected links to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

These resolutions demand all Member States of the UN to freeze the funds of the people named in a list established by a Sanctions Committee of the Security Council.

The list was established by the UN Security Council and was directly transferred into EU law by the bloc's member states.

Mr Yusuf Ali, a Swedish former worker in a Barakaat International Foundation office, operated a money transfer facility used by Somalis world-wide, and was later suspected of sponsoring terrorist groups with the money.

His funds - for example his bank savings - were then frozen by Swedish authorities.

Mr Yusuf Ali has claimed that the sanctions are in breach of the Rome treaty, which states that EU law cannot lead to disciplinary actions against single individuals,

In Wednesday's verdict the court of first instance stated that European Community law is entitled to order the freezing of personal assets to fight international terrorism, and that this issue falls outside the scope of judicial review.

Yusuf Ali's lawyers also say that the fact that Yusuf Ali has not had a chance to prove his innocence in a court room is in breach of the European Charter of Human Rights. The court disagrees.

Critics have claimed that the sanctions are in breach of human rights, notably the right to dispose of possessions, the right to defence and the right to an effective judicial remedy.

Ahmed Yusuf Ali's defence lawyer, Thomas Olsson, told Swedish wire agency TT after the ruling on Wednesday morning that "they [the EU] have imposed a system that denies people their legal rights. It is a pitiable verdict, and Ahmed Yusuf is a loser. But the biggest loser is the EU itself.

"It is completely unacceptable. We have not yet read the verdict or the motivation, but the result raises questions about the EU's position as regards the rule of law".

Ahmed Yusuf Ali will appeal the case to the European Court of Justice.


Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act

"If evil is not defeated, it tends to expand", Natalia Magnitsky, the widow of a Russian anti-corruption activist, has said, as EU diplomats discuss human rights sanctions 10 years after his death.

Commission defends Breton's Atos over police data

The European Commission defended Atos for hosting EU police data, despite its own public guidelines that state operational and technical copies should not be entrusted to third parties. Atos former CEO Thierry Breton is set to become a European commissioner.


Breton's firm hosted unlawful copy of EU police data

France's Thierry Breton is set to become the next European Commissioner for industrial policy. While he was CEO of IT giant Atos, the firm hosted unlawful partial copies of EU police data on behalf of the United Kingdom.

No large-scale disinformation detected in EU this year

The EU set up a 'Rapid Alert System' in March to allow national authorities in member states to inform the rest of the bloc of any large-scale disinformation campaigns. No alert has so far been triggered.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia working on 'Plan B' for Nato
  2. Report: Hungary gagged EU on Israeli settlers
  3. Polls suggest draw after Johnson vs Corbyn TV duel
  4. EU ambassador to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry
  5. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  6. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  7. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  8. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us