BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's highest court ruled on Thursday that EU sanctions on Saudi businessman Yassin Kadi were unjustified and that governments had failed to provide enough evidence that he was involved in terrorist activities.
Kadi was put on a European Union blacklist after being included on a U.N. list of people suspected of supporting Osama bin Laden directly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The United Nations annulled its restrictions on Kadi in 2012, but his case is closely watched by critics who have challenged the fairness of international sanctions and their targets' ability to defend themselves.
The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice dismissed appeals by the council of EU governments, Britain and the executive European Commission against earlier judgments to repeal sanctions.
"The European Union may not impose restrictive measures on Mr. Kadi," the court said in a statement.
The judgment echoes a handful of recent decisions by Europe's second-highest court, the General Court, to dismiss EU sanctions against some Iranian companies, imposed as part of Western efforts to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.
These court decisions raised alarm in Washington and Brussels over Western governments' ability to maintain economic restrictions on Iran and force it to scale back the program, which they suspect has a military aim.
(Writing by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Gareth Jones)