US court rejects groups' claims


A US Federal appeals court in Washington DC yesterday upheld the designation of both the 32-County Sovereignty Movement and Irish Republican Prisoners and Welfare Association as "foreign terrorist organisations".

The two groups were named as aliases of the "Real IRA" when the latter was designated by the State Department last year.

Designation allows the US to deny visas to members, prohibits fundraising by the groups, and requires financial institutions to freeze assets.

The unanimous three-judge panel rejected the groups' claims that, as legal political and social organisations in Britain and Ireland, they were not aliases of the "Real IRA" and that they had been denied due process by being refused a hearing in the State Department ahead of the decision.

"The administrative record (including the classified information relied upon by the Secretary) furnishes substantial support for the Secretary's designation of 32-County and the Association as foreign terrorist organisations," Judge Raymond Randolph wrote in the ruling.

"We are satisfied that the secretary, on the face of things, had enough information before (him) to come to the conclusion that (the two groups) were foreign and engaged in terrorism," he said.