Iranian diplomat convicted on terror plot charges drops appeal to Belgian court

An Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in prison for planning a bomb attack in France has dropped an appeal against his conviction that had been lodged here in Belgium. On Wednesday morning Asadullah Assadi’s lawyers said that their client will serve his sentence. 

Meanwhile, prosecution lawyers in the case have said that the Belgian authorities will oppose Mr Assadi being used in any potential deal with Iran for Western prisoners being held there.

Asadullah Assadi was found guilty of attempted terrorism in February after a foiled plot to bomb a 2018 rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). NCRI is a French-based dissident group opposed to the regime in Tehran.

The conviction was the first of an Iranian official in Europe since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Speaking in Antwerp on Wednesday morning, Mr Assadi’s lawyer Dimitri de Beco said that his client does not intend to appeal against his conviction.

“This has been a political trial since the beginning and he does not want to participate any longer", Mr de Beco said. The lawyer added that as the third counsellor at Iran's embassy in Vienna Mr Assadi had diplomatic immunity.

However, at the trial judges ruled that diplomatic immunity did not protect Mr Assadi from charges that he used his post as cover to carry out state-sponsored terrorism.

The Iranian was said by the court to be an Iranian state intelligence network. Mr Assadi bought explosives for the Paris plot with him on a commercial flight to Austria from Iran, the court ruled.

Iran's mission to the EU in Brussels said in a statement that Belgium had broken international law.



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