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Belgian court puts Iran prisoner-swap treaty on hold

by editor

Belgium’s highest court on Thursday suspended a controversial treaty on prisoner exchanges which could allow an Iranian diplomat convicted of terrorism in Belgium to be sent back to Tehran.

“Belgium knows or must know that Iran will not effectively execute the sentence,” the court said in a press release.

After suspending the treaty, the Constitutional Court will now have to come to a final decision on whether to cancel the treaty “within three months.”

Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a criminal court in Antwerp in February 2021 for plotting a bomb attack against a rally organized by Iranian dissidents near Paris. A tip from Israeli intelligence to European authorities stopped the attack.

The treaty, which includes the transfer of a Belgian humanitarian worker currently detained in Iran back to his home country, had been approved by the Belgian parliament last July.

Ten people who were plaintiffs at Assadi’s trial, together with an Iranian political opposition movement in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, then filed for the treaty’s cancellation, fearing the Iranian diplomat would be immediately freed upon arriving in his home country.

“The Iranian Resistance will continue the political and legal campaign to the end to ensure the execution of justice and prevent the terrorist from being released,” NCRI President Maryam Rajavi said in a statement.

Camille Gijs and Barbara Moens contributed reporting.

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