An Iranian convicted in Belgium soon to be the subject of a prisoner exchange with Tehran?
Belgian police officers patrol during the trial of four people, including Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, in February 2021 in Antwerp.
AFP - DIRK WAEM
Text by: RFI Follow
In Belgium, a bill to be voted on next week plans to authorize the return to Iran of prisoners sentenced by Belgian justice.
If the text is passed, it could allow the transfer to his country of an Iranian convicted of having prepared an attack against an Iranian opposition rally in Villepinte near Paris in 2018. In recent years, exchanges have enabled Iran to repatriate some of its nationals sentenced abroad.
But for whom could Assadollah Assadi be exchanged?
In June 2018, the Belgian police arrested two individuals on their way to France.
In possession of explosives, they are preparing to carry out an attack against a group of Iranian opponents in Villepinte, near Paris.
A few months later, an Iranian diplomat was arrested in Germany.
Considered the mastermind of the foiled operation, Assadollah Assadi was sentenced to twenty years in prison by a Belgian court in June 2021. It is he who could be sent back to his country, according to the bill which must be examined urgently next week in Belgium.
Is an exchange in preparation?
And can it concern the Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah sentenced to five years in prison?
Or the French tourist Benjamin Brière, whose eight-year prison sentence for "espionage" has just been confirmed on appeal?
Or the two French teachers recently imprisoned while traveling in Iran?
One certainty: in its tense relations with the West, Iran regularly resorts to exchanges involving foreign or dual national prisoners.
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