EU reveals secret list of banned hand luggage after court challenge

March 11th, 2009 - 6:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Brussels, Mar.11 (ANI): The European Union has revealed a secret list of items banned from hand luggage following a legal challenge by a man, who was barred from flying with a tennis racquet. Austrian sportsman Gottfried Heinrich was kicked off a plane for carrying a tennis racquet, and the European Commission was forced to reveal the contents of the confidential memo to airlines outlining which everyday objects were considered a potential terrorist threat, reports The Telegraph.
Security staff have used the list to stop passengers carrying skateboards, fishing roads and canoe paddles from taking them on-board despite not being told they were banned.
But yesterday, the European Union’’s Court of Justice said it was ridiculous to have a list that the public could not access.
Judges said the rules could not be enforced because of the “fundamental absurdity” of passengers having no way of finding out what was prohibited.
Sarah Ludford, a Liberal Euro-MP, who has been campaigned on the issue said: “This categorical judgment is a victory for democracy and openness, and a slap in the face of the European Commission and EU governments who thought Kafkaesque methods acceptable. The Court has now agreed with our protest that it cannot be right for 500 million EU citizens to be told to obey laws they cannot read for themselves.”
Following the court case, the Commission published the list of 11 items banned from passenger aircraft cabins.
It revealed sports and leisure equipment such as skateboards and lacrosse sticks were specifically banned as they were considered “blunt instruments capable of causing injury”.
But there was a further kick in the teeth for Heinrich, as it emerged tennis racquets did not even appear on the list and he may have been barred from flying due to an overzealous interpretation of the rules.
Nevertheless, a BAA spokesman warned passengers not attempt boarding an aircraft with racquets in hand. (ANI)

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