EU states can reject asylum seekers involved in terror networks, the Court of Justice ruled
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) upheld a ruling by the Belgian Council of State, which had rejected an asylum claim five years ago by Mostafa Lounani, a Moroccan convicted and jailed in Belgium in 2006 for his membership of a Moroccan Islamist militant group.
The ECJ found that Lounani's conviction for handling fraudulent passports to send volunteers of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (MICG) to Iraq was sufficient reason to deny him asylum.
The decision was made under EU rules on the grounds that Lounani had committed "acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations".
An application for asylum can be rejected if the asylum seeker has participated in the activities of a terrorist network
European Court of Justice
In a statement, the ECJ said: “An application for asylum can be rejected if the asylum seeker has participated in the activities of a terrorist network.
“It is not necessary that the asylum seeker personally committed terrorist acts, or instigated such acts, or participated in their commission.”
Lounani was convicted in Belgium by the Brussels Criminal Court and sentenced to six years in jail for his activities in the terror network in 2006.
EU states can turn away people involved in terror networks, the court ruled
He applied for refugee status in 2010 in Belgium, claiming he feared he would be persecuted if he returned to Morocco “because of the likelihood that he would be regarded by the Moroccan authorities as a radical Islamist and jihadist”.
The Belgian authorities rejected his refugee application.
The rejection was later appealed by the Belgian Council for asylum and immigration proceedings on the grounds Lounani had not personally committed terrorist acts.
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The ECJ ruling found Lounani's 2006 conviction was enough to deny him asylum
The ECJ in Luxembourg upheld a ruling by the Belgian Council of State
The Council said Lounani’s actions could not be categorised as “acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations” because he had not personally committed terrorist acts” leading the case to be referred to Luxembourg.
But the ECJ found Lounani’s role in passport forgery and helping jihadis who wanted to travel to Iraq amounted to “logistical support to the activities” of the MICG.
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Terrorism: A devastating and growing issue worldwide.
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Terrorism can be described as the wrongful use of violence in order to intimidate civilians or politicians for ideological, religious, or political reasons with no regard for public safety.
The court, which is based in Luxembourg, said: “In the opinion of the Court, such acts can justify exclusion from refugee status.”
In its judgement, the ECJ said the rules “cannot be confined to the actual perpetrators of terrorist acts, but can also extend to the persons who engage in activities of recruitment, organisation, transportation or equipment of individuals” who travel to states other than their residence to perpetrate, plan or prepare a terror attack.