The spokesman for Iran’s Judiciary says an Iranian diplomat who has been illegally imprisoned in Belgium will soon be released in a prisoner swap, after the two sides finalized a swap deal over a Belgian spy.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Massoud Setayeshi said Tehran has made a request regarding the transfer of Assadollah Assadi after the Belgian side submitted a request for the exchange of a prisoner detained in Iran.
An agreement between Iran and Belgium has been finalized, he said, adding that the agreement came after both Belgium and Iran asked for a prisoner swap.
In February 2021, a Belgian court sentenced Assadi to 20 years in prison after accusing him of planning an alleged attack against the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO).
Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the jail term as completely unlawful at the time, saying it is in violation of Assadi’s diplomatic immunity, and a result of Belgium’s falling under the influence of the MKO.
Back in March, Belgium’s Constitutional Court turned down a request for the annulment of a treaty with Iran, which authorizes the exchange of prisoners between the countries.
In line with the deal, Iranians convicted in Belgium would be allowed to serve their sentences at home and vice versa. The treaty paved the way for the release of Assadi.
The so-called “National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),” an umbrella group of anti-Iran outfits such as the MKO, has been trying to pose some legal challenges to it, alleging that Assadi should remain in prison.
Belgium’s parliament ratified the treaty back last July.