IRAN - Belgian Court sentenced iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi to 20 years
February 3, 2021:
Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat accused of planning to bomb a meeting of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) annual Paris rally in 2018, was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court in Antwerp this morning in the first trial of an Iranian official for suspected terrorism in Europe since Iran’s 1979 revolution.
Nassimeh Naami, Mehrdad Arefani, Amir Saadouni, Assadi’s accomplices in the plot, were respectively sentenced to 18, 17, and 15 years in prison and were stripped of their Belgian citizenship status due to their involvement in the plot.
The court recognized all defendants as criminals who had assembled a terrorist entity. The judge rejected Assadi’s claim to diplomatic immunity. The judge stipulated that the bomb that Assadi had delivered to Naami and Saadouni to detonate at the event was manufactured in Iran and was carried to Europe in a diplomatic suitcase. Naami and Saadouni had been instructed to place the bomb as close as possible to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRI. The judge rejected the couple’s claim that they had acted out of fear and intimidation and presented documents that proved they had been constantly receiving money from Assadi in exchange for information. The judge also rejected Arefani’s claims that he had not been in contact with Assadi.
This historic ruling is a first judicial condemnation of an Iranian regime official for terrorism in the European Union.
Iran “strongly” condemned a Belgian court’s decision to sentence an Iranian diplomat convicted of planning to bomb a meeting of an exiled opposition group in France, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement on Thursday. “As we have stated many times before, Assadolah Assadi’s detention, the judicial process and the recent sentencing are illegal and a clear violation of international law, especially the 1961 Vienna Convention,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said according to state TV.
The verdict was celebrated by Iranians across the world, who have long suffered from the regime’s terrorist attacks. Simultaneous with the declaration of the court ruling, an online conference was held with participants joining in from more than 3,000 places across the world. Many of the speakers at the event had participated at the 2018 rally and were civil parties to the Assadi case.
In her keynote speech at the conference, Mrs. Rajavi said, “Today’s conviction of the Iranian regime’s diplomat-terrorist confirms the Iranian regime’s state terrorism by a European judicial authority. Iran and the rest of the world have been suffering from this terrorism in the past four decades. The intelligence and foreign ministries and the regime’s embassies were directly involved in this plot.” “This is a momentous triumph for the Iranian people and Resistance.” “This is a heavy political and diplomatic blow to the clerical regime in Iran. It marks an end to deceptions by both factions of the regime to cover up their roles in terrorist crimes. It revealed the scandalous bankrolling of their agents to sustain the demonization campaign against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the Iranian Resistance,” Maryam Rajavi said, adding, “It is an irreparable blow to the clerical regime’s strategy of exporting and spreading terrorism.” “Yes, the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime will be the definite result of the Iranian people’s determination and desire,” the NCRI President-elect stressed.
Following Maryam Rajavi’s remarks, distinguished guests attended the conference from different countries across five continents, delivering their speeches: Ingrid Betancourt, Giulio Terzi, Pandeli Majko, Tom Ridge, Patrick Kennedy, Michèle de Vaucouleurs, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Steve McCabe, Wesley Martin, Riad Yassin Abdallah, Jean Michele Clement, Stephen Harper, James Jones, Lars Rise, Tahar Boumedra, Kimmo Sasi, Paulo Casaca, Eric David, Michele Alliot-Marie, Gianna Gancia, John Baird, Linda Chavez, Robert Torricelli, Struan Stevenson, Robert Joseph, Matthew Offord, David Jones, Martin Patzelt. Most speakers were potential victims of the Iranian regime’s terror attempt against the Free Iran 2018 rally.
Among them, Giulio Terzi, former Italian Foreign Minister, said: “This is a moment when we have to believe that justice must be rendered for other instances of the crimes committed by the heinous regime of the mullahs. Justice must be rendered for the execution of political prisoners in 1988 and the killing of political refugees in other countries,” said Giulio Terzi. “Those who appease the mullahs’ regime must be aware that the mask is finally off. The regime is certified as a terrorist state by the court,” he noted, adding, “The judges have established that Assadi was acting on behalf of the leaders of the Iranian regime. This shows the unity between the so-called hardline and reformist factions in the regime. The regime, particularly Zarif, used dual nationals, innocent civilians, as hostages to influence Assadi’s case and secure his release” concluded Terzi.
MEP Gianna Gancia also spoke: “We need a stronger policy against the threatening activities of the Iranian regime in Europe. We in Europe need to be firm against the actions of the Iranian regime. The time has come to downgrade diplomatic relations with Iran. We should withdraw our ambassadors from Iran” said Gancia.
https://www.reuters.com/article/iran-plot-verdict-reaction-int-idUSKBN2A41ZW (Source: irannewsupdate.com, PMOI/MEK, Reuters)