Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 13:49 UK

EU court annuls PKK terror ruling

Turkish Kurds waving PKK flags
The PKK was among a number of groups the EU lists as terrorist

A ruling to blacklist Kurdish rebel group the PKK as a terrorist organisation and freeze its assets has been overturned by an EU court.

The European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg said the 2002 decision was illegal under EU law.

The court said the EU had failed to tell the PKK in advance of the decision, as it was required to do.

The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party, has been fighting Turkish troops in its campaign for greater autonomy.

Turkey has recently launched a series of cross-border attacks on Kurdish rebels who it says have used bases in northern Iraq to launch raids into Turkey.

'Procedural grounds'

A court spokesman said the ruling had been made "on procedural grounds" because the council of the EU had "failed to give the PKK an adequate statement of reason as to why they are on the list, which they are required to do".

A number of groups are listed by the EU as terrorist organisations, including the Basque separatists, Eta, the Tamil Tigers and Hamas.

Similar technical rulings have been made regarding other groups whose funds had been frozen: the People's Mujahedin of Iran, a Philippines' Communist Party official and Dutch group Stichting Al Aqsa.

The spokesman added that in the case of the People's Mujahedin, the council of the EU had responded to the ruling by keeping the group on its list but giving the group its reasoning for doing so.

That decision is currently being considered by the court.

The EU said the ruling on the PKK related to a 2002 list which had since been updated and now complied with the requirement for justifying the group's inclusion.

The list is due to be reviewed again in June.

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