EU says it still considers Hamas a 'terrorist' group
LUXEMBOURG - Agence France-Presse
Hamas top leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya (L), spokesman for the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obaida and Mussa Abu Marzuq (R) greet supporters during a parade marking the 27th anniversary of the Islamist movement's creation on December 14, 2014 in Gaza City. AFP PHotoThe EU said Wednesday it still considers Hamas to be a "terrorist" group even though a European court ruled that it should be removed from the bloc's terrorism blacklist.
"The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organisation," European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said, adding that the EU would consider its response to the court's ruling, including the possibility of an appeal.
The Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas must be removed from the EU's terrorism blacklist, but its assets will stay frozen, a European court ruled on Dec. 17.
The original listing in 2001 was based not on sound legal judgements but on conclusions derived from the media and the Internet, the General Court of the European Union said in a statement.
But it stressed that Wednesday's decision to remove Hamas was based on technical grounds and does "not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group."
The freeze on Hamas's funds will also temporarily remain in place for three months pending any appeal by the EU, the Luxembourg-based court said.
Hamas's military wing was added to the European Union's first-ever terrorism blacklist drawn up in December 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The EU blacklisted the political wing of Hamas in 2003.
"The General Court finds that the contested measures are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet," the court said.
Instead, such an action had to be based on facts previously established by competent authorities. it said.
The lawyer for Hamas, Liliane Glock, told AFP she was "satisfied with the decision".