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EU states may deny asylum to any members of terrorist groups, court rules

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - European Union states may deny asylum to people who have been involved in a terrorist organization even if they have not actually committed or plotted violent acts, the EU's top court ruled on Tuesday.

The Court of Justice upheld a ruling by the Belgian Council of State, which had rejected an asylum claim five years ago by Mostafa Lounani, a Moroccan convicted and jailed in Belgium in 2006 for his membership of a Moroccan Islamist militant group.

The ECJ found that Lounani's conviction for handling fraudulent passports to send volunteers of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group to Iraq was sufficient reason to deny him asylum under EU rules on the grounds that he had committed "acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations".

Lounani argued that he could be persecuted if he returned home.

(Reporting by Waverly Colville in Brussels; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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