Migrants walk to a registration point for asylum seekers in Erding, Germany in November 2016. — AFP Photo
UXEMBOURG — EU states can reject asylum applications from people who have worked with terrorist groups, even if their role was only logistical, the bloc’s highest court ruled on Tuesday.
The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) was ruling on the case of Mostafa Lounani, a Moroccan sentenced to six years in a Belgian jail in 2006 for terrorist activities over his links to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM).
Lounani had been found guilty of procuring false passports for members of a recruitment network that was sending fighters to Iraq.
In 2010 he requested asylum in Belgium, saying he feared persecution if he was sent back to Morocco as authorities there would consider him a radical Islamist due to his Belgian conviction, a court statement said.
Belgian legal authorities gave contradictory rulings on the matter, finally landing his case in the ECJ.
The EU court said in its judgment that while there was no evidence Lounani had personally committed or planned a terrorist act, European countries like Belgium had no obligation to offer asylum to a person in his position.
The "exclusion of refugee status... is not limited to the effective perpetrators of acts of terrorism, but can also extend to the persons who engage in activities of recruitment, organisation, transportation or equipment", of people travelling abroad to carry out attacks. — AFP