One of those convicted is an Iranian diplomat and key member of the Iranian intelligence service.
Special security arrangements were in force at the Antwerp courthouse, the Vlinder or Butterfly Palace, for the sentencing.
The court held diplomat Assadollah Assadi, a Belgian Iranian couple Amir S. and Nasimeh N. as well as a fourth man responsible for planning a bomb attack on a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran.
Defendants were found guilty of attempted terrorist murder and involvement in a terrorist organisation. The court accepted that the Iranian diplomat carried a bomb to Europe in diplomatic baggage on a commercial flight. The bomb was then handed over to the Belgian-Iranian couple from Wilrijk (Antwerp Province).
“This would have been an attack on the democratic state of law and freedom of speech” the judge said. “When the army bomb squad wanted to make safe the bomb it exploded. A robot was incapacitated. Thousands of people were present at the rally in Paris. This would have resulted in many fatalities due to the explosion but also the subsequent chaos.”
Assadollah Assadi got the maximum 20-year sentence. The Belgian-Iranian couple got 15 and 18 years, while the fourth defendant was sentenced to 17 years. The three defendants with Belgian nationality now see this forfeited.
Read more about the investigation that led to today’s sentencing in the accompanying articles.