EU court exonerates Somali-born Swedes

The European Court of Justice in Luxemburg has annulled a 2005 ruling against a Sweden-based Somali banking network which had its assets frozen due to suspicions of ties to terrorism.

Because those associated with the al Barakaat International Foundation, based in the Stockholm suburb of SpÄnga, had no way to defend themselves against the charges, the Court of Justice ruled that their fundamental rights had been violated.

"It's with great joy that this ruling has come. Time after time we have said that we were subjected to a violation of our legal rights, and the judgment confirms that," said Abdirisak Aden, one of the three Somali-born Swedes who was singled out by the United Nations, the EU, and Sweden for associating with terrorists and subsequently had their assets frozen as a result.

Thomas Olsson, who handled the case for the three Swedes, sees the decision as good news for everyone who has used the informal al Barakaat banking network for sending money to relatives back in Somalia.

"But this is also an unbelievable relief for all of us. The court showed that human rights must be enforced when we are fighting terrorism, and that there is a guarantee that the battle is about something which is worth protecting, namely the democratic state governed by law," he said.

The court also nullified the regulations which made the freezing of al Barakaat's assets possible.


Source: The Local (English)

See also: Sweden: Arrests in terror financing probe, Sweden: Somali ICU head asks gov't to free terror suspects, Sweden/Norway: Terror financing arrests

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