European Union nations can reject asylum seekers who have taken part in a terrorist group’s activities even if their role was confined to logistics, the bloc’s top court ruled on Tuesday.
The European Court of Justice ruled 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 jihadists for Iraq.
It 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 jihadist.
“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.
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.