(CN) - When nations freeze the funds of terrorists, they are not required to stop providing Social Security and other government assistance to terrorists' spouses, Europe's high court ruled Thursday.
Her Majesty's Treasury, in order to implement a United Nations Security Council resolution intended to freeze the funds of al-Qaida supporters, imposed strict limits on the amount of money spouses of members on a terror list could use for household purposes.
The terrorists' wives challenged this, arguing that Social Security and other state-sponsored benefits such as disability, housing support or support for children should still be available to them.
The Court of Justice ruled that the British treasury's interpretation "was not based on any danger whatsoever that the funds in question might be diverted in order to support terrorist activities."
"[I]t is hard to imagine how those funds could be turned into means that could be used to support terrorist activities," the court wrote, especially because such benefits are fixed at minimum levels intended to meet only the most basic of needs.
If the wives were to withdraw the money and hand it over to their husbands, this would constitute a direct violation of laws that prevent providing material support for terrorists.
Using social benefits to support the essential needs of a household cannot be considered supporting terrorism, the court concluded.
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