People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran v. Department of State (PMOI II)

327 F.3d 1238 (2003)

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People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran v. Department of State (PMOI II)

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
327 F.3d 1238 (2003)

Facts

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1189, the United States secretary of state (secretary) (defendant) designated an entity as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) if the secretary made certain findings, such as that the entity engaged in terrorist activities that threatened national security or American citizens. There were legal and financial consequences to an FTO designation. An entity could petition the secretary for revocation of an FTO designation, and there was a statutory process for seeking judicial review. In 1997, the secretary designated the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) (plaintiff) as an FTO. PMOI challenged the designation on due-process grounds, but the court of appeals determined that PMOI was a foreign organization without presence in the United States and thus did not have any due-process rights. In 1999, PMOI was designated again as an FTO, but this time an alias organization that the secretary found was essentially an alter ego of PMOI had property and was present in the United States. PMOI challenged its FTO designation on due-process grounds, and the court of appeals decided that PMOI was entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard. On remand, the secretary provided PMOI with an opportunity to review and respond to all the unclassified information on which the secretary’s decision was based. The unclassified materials showed that PMOI had admittedly engaged in terrorist activities, such as killing current leaders of Iran and mortaring Iranian offices and buildings. Pursuant to statute, PMOI was not allowed to review or respond to any classified materials, but the materials were subject to disclosure to the court in an ex parte in camera hearing. The secretary maintained its designation of PMOI as an FTO in 1999 and renewed the designation in 2001. PMOI filed petitions for review of the 1999 and 2001 designations, arguing that the secretary’s ability to consider secret or classified information violated PMOI’s due-process right.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sentelle, J.)

Concurrence (Edwards, J.)

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