EU states can reject asylum seekers with terror links

AFP , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017

EU nations can reject asylum seekers who have taken part in a terrorist group's activities even if their role was confined to logistics

asylum seekers
Migrants wait for the visit of German President Joachim Gauck in an asylum seekers accommodation facility in Berlin, Germany, (Reuters)

The European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday against a Moroccan whose request for asylum in Belgium was rejected after a Belgian court convicted him in 2006 of forging passports for a Moroccan group recruiting militants for Iraq.

The group's top court said the Moroccan, Mostafa Lounani, had applied for refugee status expressing fears of persecution if he were returned to his home country which would likely view him as a radical Islamist and militants.

"An application for asylum can be rejected if the asylum seeker has participated in the activities of a terrorist network," the court ruled. "It is not necessary that the asylum seeker personally committed terrorist acts, or instigated such acts, or participated in their commission," it added.

The court cited a UN Security Council resolution in 2014 that raised alarm about the international networks created by foreign terrorist fighters moving across borders as they waged war in Syria and Iraq.

It said grounds for exclusion from asylum can extend to people engaged in the activities of recruitment, organisation, transportation of people who travel across borders to perpetrate or plot terror attacks.

The Belgian court, it said, had sentenced Lounani to six years in jail for actively participating in the Belgian cell of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group by forging passports to help volunteers fight in Iraq.

The court also based its decision on the fact that Lounani was a member of the leadership of a terrorist group operating internationally and blacklisted by the United Nations in 2002.


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