EU court lifts asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi daughter
An asset freeze and travel ban imposed on the daughter of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi must be lifted, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Tuesday. The European Union had imposed the measures during the Libyan revolution in February 2011.
While official figures are difficult to obtain, the Gaddafi family stands accused of having looted between 30 billion and 80 billion dollars worth of Libyan public funds during its reign, which lasted from 1969 to 2011. Funds and economic resources were frozen and members of the Gaddafi family were banned from entering or transiting through EU member states. The travel ban and asset freeze were renewed in June 2014.
The measures were challenged by Gaddafi's daughter, Aisha, who currently lives in Oman with her family. In her plea, she argued that the measures "violate the principle of proportionality and her fundamental rights, including her right to property and her right to respect for private and family life."
She had also stressed that she "does not pose any threat to international peace and security," and that she had not been involved in any events in Libya that constitute a threat to international peace and security."
The ECJ wrote that, while the European Council had justified including Gaddafi on the list by citing the involvement of Gaddafi loyalists "in the use of force, repression and violent attack against civilians," the court found that not enough information as to Aisha Gaddafi's "individual, specific and concrete role," were made available to support the ban.
The court ruling exclusively applies to Aisha Gaddafi's inclusion on the EU sanctions list. The ECJ also ordered the EU to pay the costs of the court proceedings.
The Gaddafis stand accused of having moved billions of public funds into accounts in Europe and the United States.
In February 2011, Britain froze the assets of Muammar Gaddafi, his daughter and four sons, including a home in London estimated to be worth 10 million pounds (12.5 million dollars). During the same week, British authorities foiled an attempt to move hundreds of millions of dollars of funds out of the country.
Muammar Gaddafi died at the hands of rebels in October 2011, after being driven from power.
In 2011, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for his second son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. He faces two counts of crimes against humanity, including murder and persecution of civilians, allegedly conducted as part of an orchestrated campaign against demonstrators during the uprising in Libya in 2011. He is currently under arrest in Libya. (dpa)
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