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Europe court reverses EU decision to freeze Iran opposition group assets

[JURIST] The European Court of First Instance [official website; JURIST news archive] on Thursday annulled [case materials; press release, PDF] a July decision of the Council of the European Union [official website] to place the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) [group website] on the list of terrorist organizations and freeze its assets for the third time since the court's similar decision in December 2006. The court recognized as valid four of the six pleas [text, PDF] made by the PMOI. In an unusually swift ruling only a day after the hearing, the court found that the Council had violated the PMOI’s right to defend itself from the Council’s legal arguments to place it on the European list of terrorist organizations by failing to give the specific reason for its decision to the PMOI and subsequently to the court. This constituted both a "failure to discharge burden of proof" and a "breach of the applicant’s right to effective judicial protection." In addition, PMOI was awarded costs under Article 87 (2) of the Rules of Procedure [text]. The court did not specify a date by which the Council must comply with its decision, and any appeals must be made within two months.

In October 2008 and December 2006 [JURIST reports] the European Court of First Instance struck down similar decisions by the Council in regards to the PMOI. The PMOI is considered the main organization in the National Council of Resistance of Iran [advocacy website], a coalition based in France that purports to be dedicated to a democratic, secular, and coalition government in Iran.

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