Iranian convicted terrorist Assadi

Court OKs Iran prisoner exchange

The court of first instance in Brussels has thrown out a request to stop Belgium from handing over the convicted Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi to Tehran saying the request is unfounded in law. 

The decision means that in principle the Belgian NGO worker Olivier Vandecasteele, who is locked up in Iran can be exchanged for Assadi as part of the prisoner exchange agreed between Brussels and Tehran.

A court in Antwerp last year sentenced Assadi to 20 years in prison after he was found guilty of complicity in a foiled attack on the Iranian opposition in Paris. 

Last June the Belgian parliament OKed legislation allowing a prisoner exchange.  The National Council of Resistance of Iran was among parties taking action in the courts to prevent the exchange.  In a preliminary judgement the court of appeal agreed to a temporary ban on prisoner exchanges in anticipation of a full judgement by the court of first instance.  This court has now said the complaint against the exchange deal is not supported by law.  In practice it means Assadi can be exchanged.

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