General

Legal battle continues in Belgium on extradition of Iranian diplomat convicted for terrorist attackLegal battle continues in Belgium on extradition of Iranian diplomat convicted for terrorist attack

An appeal against the law allowing the extradition of an Iranian diplomat jailed for terrorism charges has been filed at the Belgian Constitutional Court, while a first instance court approved the prisoner exchange, local media reported on Tuesday.

 

Iranian diplomat Assadolah Assadi was sentenced last year by a Belgian court to 20 years in prison for attempting a bomb attack at a protest near Paris in 2018.

 

According to Belgian daily Het Niewsblad, a Brussels court prepared the legal ground for extraditing Assadi to Iran based on a controversial deal between Brussels and Tehran allowing prisoner exchange.

 

The treaty, which was ratified by Belgian lawmakers in June, would enable the return of Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandeecasteele, who has been held in Iran since February.

 

According to critics, the deal would raise concerns if Assadi continued to serve his prison sentence in his home country and might serve as a further ground for Iran to take hostages.

 

The legal battle will not end because, in the meantime, an appeal against the treaty that would authorize Assadi’s extradition has been filed at the Belgian Constitutional Court, daily Le Soir revealed on Tuesday.

 

The motion asks for annulling the ratified law and immediately suspending its application.

 

Foiled bombing attack in Paris

 

The Vienna-based diplomat was involved in a plot to kill leaders of the opposition group National Council of the Resistance of Iran in 2018 in France, according to the ruling of the Antwerpen Court.

 

Assadi with his three Belgian-Iranian accomplices prepared to explode a bomb during the opposition group’s protest near Paris but the attack was prevented by a coordinated operation of the Belgian, German, and French police.

 

Despite raising his diplomatic immunity, he was arrested in Germany in 2018 during his holiday and extradited to Belgium.

 

Assadi received 20 years in jail for transporting explosive materials from Iran to Vienna.

 

His accomplices, a Belgian-Iranian couple, who were arrested near Antwerpen with 500 grams of TATP explosive and a detonator, were sentenced to 15 and 17 years in prison, and were deprived of their Belgian nationality.

 

Assadi said during their trial that they had been blackmailed by Iran to take part in the terror attack.

 

Iran denied the allegations, accusing the exiled opposition group of preparing a false plot to harm Tehran’s reputation.

 

Source: Anadolu Agency