Brussels Court of Appeal bars Belgium from sending terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi to Iran
The Belgian government was barred on Friday from sending terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi to Iran by the Brussels Court of Appeal. In 2018, Assadi orchestrated a terrorist plot to detonate explosives at the NCRI rally, which drew tens of thousands of foreigners and well-known politicians to a venue close to Paris. A Belgian court last year sentenced Assadi to 20 years in prison after the plot, which had the potential to be the worst terrorist attack on the continent to date, was ultimately thwarted by European law enforcement.
A treaty was signed in March between the Iranian government and Belgium that paved the way for the release of Assadi, but it wasn’t made public until the end of June when it was submitted to the Belgian parliament for ratification. On July 20, the treaty was accepted with 79 votes in favor, 41 votes against it, and 11 abstentions. The treaty was strongly opposed by Belgian opposition MPs, and the voting process continued until Wednesday midnight.
The court order stated that “it is provisionally forbidden to the state of Belgium, under penalty of 500,000 euros, to attempt by any means to transfer Mr. Assadollah,” according to the Belga news agency.
The plaintiffs included Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Seyed Ahmed Ghazali, former Algerian Prime Minister; Giulio Terzi, former Italian Foreign Minister; Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian Senator; Linda Chavez, Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity; Robert Torricelli, former Senator from New Jersey; Tahar Boumedra, Director of JVMI and former Chief of the Human Rights Office of United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI); Dr. Sanabargh Zahedi, chair of the Judicial Committee of the NCRI; Mohammad Mohaddessin, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of NCRI; Farzin Hashemi, and Javad Dabiran, from the Foreign Affairs Committee of NCRI.
According to a report in the Belgian media, “A lawyer representing an exiled Iranian opposition group claimed that the Brussels appeal court had ordered that the Belgian government not turn over Assadollah Assadi to Iran without first allowing the decision to be legally challenged and upheld by a judge.
The government’s case for any potential release of Assadi will be subject to “cross-examination before a judge,” according to Georges-Henri Beauthier, an attorney representing the exiled opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The Belgian state “cannot proceed to a prisoner transfer before this hearing,” he declared.