'Totally Arbitrary': Marty Slams EU, UN Terror Blacklists

The Council of Europe has criticized UN and EU terror blacklists, calling for European countries to revise procedures for creating the controversial rosters, which can lead to the imposition of draconian measures against innocent people.

Swiss Senator and Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty: "A serial killer in Europe ... has a lot more rights."
AP

Swiss Senator and Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty: "A serial killer in Europe ... has a lot more rights."

Europe's leading human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, has criticized as "totally arbitrary" lists kept by the European Union and the United Nations of people and groups suspected of having ties to terrorism. The preliminary report, authored by Swiss Senator Dick Marty and released on Monday, claims the lists "threaten the free democratic constitutional order." The legal affairs committee of the Council of Europe approved the draft the same day.

At a news conference, Marty said he had seen two examples of innocent civilians getting placed on lists for whom there was no evidence whatsoever of any connection to terrorism. He added that the fight against terrorism could only be effective if it were credible. Marty called for the establishment of an independent body to verify accusations against groups or individuals before they can be placed on the blacklists -- a step the triggers asset freezes and travel restrictions. About 60 people and groups are believed to be on the European Union's terror blacklist, the Council of Europe reports.

"There are no procedures for an independent review of decisions taken," the report states. "A serial killer in Europe has a lot more rights," Marty told reporters, referring to the fact that individuals can be placed on the lists on the basis of "mere suspicion" and cannot defend themselves or try to get themselves removed. Marty has called on European governments to overhaul the procedures and make them fairer.

The Council of Europe, which includes lawmakers from 47 European member countries, is expected to debate the report during its Jan. 21-25 session.

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