EU court to rule on Hamas' classification as a terrorist group
Luxembourg - An EU court is due to rule on Wednesday whether the bloc was wrong to list Hamas as a terrorist organization in 2015, a decision that made the Palestinian Islamist group liable to EU sanctions.
The European Union first included Hamas on its terrorist list in late 2001, which resulted in the freezing of assets owned in the bloc. The movement, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, has repeatedly contested the EU's listing decisions.
Wednesday's ruling by the EU's General Court relates specifically to the EU's decision to renew the Hamas listing in 2015.
Among other things, Hamas argues that the 2015 decision: rested on facts that were "not substantiated by any evidence;" denied it the right of defence; and infringed upon the group's right to property by freezing its funds.
Furthermore, the organization describes itself as "a lawful political movement that won the Palestinian elections and forms the core of the Palestinian government" which should, therefore, be prevented "from being characterised as a terrorist group."
Hamas, which is based in Gaza, advocates armed struggle and refuses to recognize Israel, which has long been unwilling to negotiate with the Islamist group.
Wednesday's decision can be appealed before the European Court of Justice, the bloc's top tribunal.
In December, the General Court dismissed a separate Hamas challenge against an earlier listing decision, after the case had already been through several courts.dpa