Luxembourg (AFP) - The Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas must be removed from the EU's terrorism blacklist, but its assets will stay frozen, a European court ruled on Wednesday.
The original listing in 2001 was based not on sound legal judgements but on conclusions derived from the media and the Internet, the General Court of the European Union said in a statement.
But it stressed that Wednesday's decision to remove Hamas was based on technical grounds and does "not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group."
The freeze on Hamas's funds will also temporarily remain in place for three months pending any appeal by the EU, the Luxembourg-based court said.
Hamas's military wing was added to the European Union's first-ever terrorism blacklist drawn up in December 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The EU blacklisted the political wing of Hamas in 2003.
"The General Court finds that the contested measures are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet," the court said.
Instead, such an action had to be based on facts previously established by competent authorities. it said.
The lawyer for Hamas, Liliane Glock, told AFP she was "satisfied with the decision".