EU court strikes down sanctions against Gaddafi cousin

A top European court ruled Wednesday that EU sanctions imposed against a cousin of ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi should be withdrawn.

Brussels: A top European court ruled Wednesday that EU sanctions imposed against a cousin of ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi should be withdrawn.

The European Union imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on leading Libyan figures close to Gaddafi as he launched a bloody and doomed effort to hold onto power in the face of a popular uprising in 2011.

His cousin, Ahmed Mohmamed Qadhaf Al Dam, was put on the EU list on the grounds that since 1995 he had commanded "an elite army battalion in charge of Gaddafi`s personal security," the General Court of the European Union said in a statement.

Additionally, he was accused of being "involved in planning operations against Libyan dissidents abroad and was directly involved in terrorist activity," it said.

The EU kept Qadhaf Al Dam on its Libya sanctions list in 2013 and 2014, citing the same reasons as given in 2011.

But the General Court, second only to the European Court of Justice in the EU, said this was at odds with the circumstances since Gaddafi, in power for more than 40 years, was ousted in late 2011.

There was no fresh explanation of why Qadhaf Al Dam was kept on the list even though "the regime responsible for the repression which led to the (EU) adopting those measures" was no longer in place, it said.

The General Court also ruled that although the EU claimed Qadhaf Al Dam "still represented a threat to restoring civil peace ... it provided no proof in that respect."

Accordingly, it found that there was "no justification" for retaining Qadhaf Al Dam on the sanctions list and ordered the removal of his name. 

It suspended the ruling, however, pending a EU appeal, noting that lifting the sanctions immediately could allow Qadhaf Al Dam to remove assets from the 28-member bloc, undercutting the effectiveness of possible future measures.