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Paris Appeals Court’s Ruling on MKO

A French appeals court on Friday eased restrictions on an Iranian exiled opposition group with links to an armed guerrilla movement which is listed as a terrorist group by the United States.

The appeals court ruled that 18 members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which seeks to oust Iran’s clerical leaders and is the political wing of the People’s Mujahideen, had the right to travel abroad, go to the organisation’s headquarters outside Paris, and communicate with each other.

But it upheld a ban that prevents them from owning weapons, collecting funds from the public for organisations linked to their cause, or having contacts with donors.

Eleven members of the NCRI, including its leader, Maryam Rajavi, were imprisoned in 2003 on a charge of "association with criminals in connection with a terrorist enterprise" but were released at the order of the Paris appeals court.

More than 1 million dollars were confiscated from MKO headquarters at that time.

Several supporters of the group had set themselves on fire in Paris, London, Rome and Berne to protest the arrest of Rajavi, the wife of the Mujahideen main figure Massoud Rajavi.

Formed in the 1960s, the Mujahideen fled to Iraq in the 1980s after falling foul of Islamic leaders after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Reuters, June 18, 2006

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