Selin ATAY-TDO- Iranian diplomat Assadolah Assadi was convicted of attempted terrorism by a court in Belgium for his role in a 2018 bomb plot targeting an Iranian opposition group in France. Iranian diplomat was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which makes him the first Iranian diplomat to be tried for terrorism in Europe. France claims Assadi is an Iranian intelligence worker, while Tehran denies the allegations.
Assadi, Iran's diplomat in Austria, and 2 others were found guilty of planning a terrorist attack on leaders of the people's Mujahideen Organization, which opposes the administration in Iran. The Iranian diplomat had been detained while in Germany and extradited to Belgium, where he was said to have plotted the attack.
Apart from Assadi, the trial of 3 more Iranians was being held in the city of Antwerp. Strict security measures were taken using armored vehicles and helicopters for the verdict hearing, which was seen closed to the press. Apart from Assadi, 3 Iranian defendants were convicted of aiding in the attack plan and sentenced to 15, 17 and 18 years in prison.
It is unclear whether Assadi, who denied the charges and did not attend the hearings, will appeal the verdict. The Iranian diplomat, through his lawyer, was opposed to his trial in Belgium since he has diplomatic immunity.
Assadolah Assadi was accused of planning the attack, along with a couple of Iranian origin living in Antwerp. The Belgian prosecutor's office had argued that the Iranian diplomat had supplied the materials used to make the bomb. The Iranian couple's car was found with a time bomb and defused.