Britain’s Court of Appeal Orders People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran Removed from Terror List
May 7, 2008
Summary of Court’s Ruling
- On May 7, 2008, Britain’s Court of Appeal upheld the judgment by the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC) and ruled that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) was not concerned in terrorism.
- The Court ordered government to revoke the group’s terrorist designation. The Court ruled that its “decision is final and cannot be appealed.”
- The Court, led by lord chief justice Nicholas Phillips, ruled that “The reality is that neither in the open material nor in the closed material is there any reliable evidence that supported a conclusion that PMOI retained an intention to resort to terrorist activities in the future.” (Paragraph 53 of Approved Judgment)
- It stressed that the closed material “reinforced our conclusion” that the government “could not reasonably have formed the view in 2006 that the PMOI intended to revert to terrorism.” (Paragraph 57 of Approved Judgment)
- Nowhere in the judgment, does the Court of Appeal state that the PMOI was concerned in terrorism. When addressing the pre-2001 PMOI history, the Court stresses that the PMOI had resorted to “military activities.” (Paragraph 15 of Approved Judgment)
The Court of Appeal upheld POAC’s findings that:
“Whatever the accurate characterization of the organization’s activities between 1980 and 2001, the position in 2006-2007 is radically different, and has been so since 2001…
The [MEK] has conducted no military activity of any kind since about August 2001, whether in Iran or elsewhere in the world…This is attributable to a deliberate decision of the [MEK] made at an extraordinary congress held in Iraq in June 2001, namely, to abandon all military action (or activities) in Iran…
There is no evidence that the [MEK] has at any time since 2003 sought to re-create any form of structure that was capable of carrying out or supporting terrorist acts. There is no evidence of any attempt to “prepare” for terrorism. There is no evidence of any encouragement to others to commit acts of terrorism….
The above factors, combined with the 5 years that had since passed since the summer of 2001, demanded the conclusion that continued proscription could not be lawfully justified.
- Furthermore, in its introduction to the PMOI as well as its recount of the organization’s past the Court notes that the PMOI’s stated purpose is to replace the religious dictatorship ruling Iran with a democratically elected secular government in Iran. Moreover, in addition to noting the sustained hostility of the Iranian regime toward the PMOI, the Court points to theNCRI’s August 2002 revelations regarding the regime’s nuclear program. (Paragraphs7 to 11 of Approved Judgment).
The Court of Appeal’s ruling on PMOI/MEK is indeed even more significant given Britain’s judicial system’s well-established reputation of firmness and meticulous scrutiny in dealing with cases having to do with issue of terrorism.