Former Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi (file photo)

Former Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi

Brussels Court Temporarily Bans Extraditing Iranian Diplomat

7/23/2022

A court in Brussels has temporarily stopped Belgium from extraditing Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in jail on a terrorism conviction.

Darya Safai, an Iranian-born member of the Belgian parliament, released a document by the Brussels Court of Appeal on twitter on Friday evening showing the decision.

Following numerous complaints after the Belgian Parliament ratified a controversial prisoner swap treaty with Iran on July 20, the court ordered that Belgium be “provisionally prohibited from releasing Assadi […] from the Belgian prison where he is serving a sentence of 20 years […] and transferring him to any foreign state whatsoever.”

Assadi is imprisoned for “attempted murder and involvement in terrorism” for his role plotting to bomb a gathering of the exiled opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) near Paris in 2018.

After being rejected by the court of first instance in Brussels on Thursday, the opponents of the prisoner-swap deal with Tehran -- including victims who had registered as civil parties to the trial -- won their appeal on Friday. 

Georges-Henri Beauthier, a lawyer acting for the National Council of Resistance of Iran – an umbrella organization with MEK as its main member, said that according to the order, any proposed release of Assadi be subject to “cross-examination before a judge”.

The court noted that the rights of the plaintiffs “could be irreparably violated” if Assadi were handed over to the Iranian authorities, without allowing the decision to be legally challenged and confirmed by a judge through an adversarial procedure – a hearing where both parties are present or represented by a lawyer. The ban will apply until such a hearing is held, the court added.

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