Belgian held in Iranian prison for more than a year is released

A Belgian humanitarian aid work that had been held in an Iran prison since last February has been released. In a announcement made on Friday morning the Federal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that Olivier Vandecasteele is free and on his way home to Belgium.  

The 42-year-old spent 455 days in an Iranian prison and family and friends say that his time in captivity had taken a heavy toll on his heath. On Thursday evening Olvier Vandecasteele was transferred from Tehran to the Gulf State of Oman, where he was received by Belgian military and diplomats.

In a video message released on Friday morning Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) said that “This morning he (Olivier Vandecasteele) underwent a number of medical tests to check his health and ensure he can return as well as possible”.

Olivier Vandecasteele is expected to be back in Belgium on Friday evening.

Prisoner exchange

Last month Iran claimed that the Iranian diplomat and terrorist Assadollah Assadi would be released soon from a Belgian prison and that he would be exchanged for Olivier Vandecasteele.

In 2021 Assadoullah Assadi was convicted of planning a terrorist attack on a meeting of the Iranian opposition in Paris. It is still not clear whether he too was released from prison on Thursday.


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