ium is being asked to reconsider extradition of an Iranian national convicted //
John Bercow, former Speaker of UK House of Commons has called for Belgium to reconsider possible extradition of an Iranian national. Bercow is one of the most well-known British politicians of recent years. He was one of many speakers who traveled to Brussels to plead for an end to the Belgian authorities’ handling of the case.
Over plans to exile Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi from Belgium, the Belgian State was strongly criticised.
Assadi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Belgium for his participation in a bomb attack on June 2018 at Free Iran World Summit near Paris.
Three of his accomplices and he were sentenced by an Antwerp court to 17 to 20 years in prison for their involvement in the plot. They are currently serving their sentences in Belgium.
A press briefing was organized by the National Council for the Resistance in Iran (NCRI), at the Brussels Press Club (16 Sept), where Bercow and other speakers spoke. The NCRI also promoted a book on the subject at the briefing.
After the controversial Belgian Parliament passed a bill that would allow extraditions, including an exchange of a prisoner aid worker and an academic, there has been a lot of controversy. The treaty’s ratification would allow for the release Assadi.
Bercow is one of the critics. He claims that Belgium is giving in to “Iranian blackmail” to obtain the release of one its nationals in Iran. The treaty will also put more Belgians living in Iran and other parts of Europe in “real” risk. Iran denied these claims and has defended the treaty agreement with Belgium.
Assadi still strongly denies any involvement in the plot. Tehran also reacted furiously at the sentence, requesting that Belgium recognize Assadi’s diplomatic status and free him.
Iranian state media strongly condemned Assadi’s arrest, conviction, and insist that he was framed.
Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgian Justice Minister, presented the Belgium treaty “on transfer of sentenced people” earlier this year to MEPs. He attempted to separate the text from the Assadi case.
This row is occurring as tensions rise between the US, EU and Iran over a nuke deal that has no end in sight.
Although no one from Iran was there, the well-attended meeting at Press Club was timely because a Belgian court will be deciding on the issue.
The court will decide whether the release should be stopped.
Bercow stated that although he is not easily moved, he was moved by the information presented to him. He also thanked the press club for helping people come together in common cause.
He stated, “We are all, honestly, horrified at the terrorist act and the quite extraordinary response that has been given to that act to this date.”
He claimed that he could not think of anything more horrible or premeditated than the Paris attack. It was all done with government approval and over many months.
He stated, “The goal was coldly and cynically to commit mass killing.”
He said, “We all know the effects of terrorism and specific incidents including in London or Manchester. This plot was devised by someone who revels in the title diplomat and has the apparent support of his government.” This attack could have left thousands of people dead if it hadn’t been stopped. Such is the indifference to human lives. It is insulting to those thousands who are engaged in responsible diplomatic service to claim diplomatic immunity.
Bercow stated that the Iranian idea of diplomacy is to plan and execute mass killings of people with opposing views.
He said that the Belgian extradition treaty was “the most absurd piece of legislation I’ve ever seen.” It is truly deplorable and a sad state of affairs.
“Remember, if you appease a monster, it will devour your soul. This should be obvious, so it is important to repeal this law. This is a matter that deserves huge media attention.
He also expressed gratitude to the National Council for Resistance Iran by saying that he had never seen an opposition force more determined and effective in his 22-year tenure in the Commons.
He stated that the book was not rhetoric, but an academic piece of serious academic work.
The book “Diplomatic Terrorism: Anatomy Of Iran’s State Terror” gives a detailed account of the plot’s inception, planning, and execution. Iranian authorities strongly refuted the account.
Several civil parties were present at the briefing, including Ingrid Betancourt (ex-Colombian senator and presidential candidate) and Robert Torricelli (ex-US Senator (Democrat). Both were present at the 2018 Free Iran gathering, and they both said that they could have been among those who would be casualties.
Torricelli stated that he “tries to avoid being involved in the internal affairs a country, but despite this, i am frustrated with this. It is my hope that this treaty will not be implemented and will be revoked, but it will be a tragedy. “Must others die?”
He said, “The book was a blueprint for a terrorist act.” This was not an act of a common criminal. Belgium was used by the Iranian government to murder people. Last June, I was just a few rows from the main target of an attack. The only reason I wasn’t killed was the skill and determination of the authorities. You can still do something, but it’s not too late. Once he boards the plane to Iran, the message will be sent that Belgium is a terrorist base in Europe.
“Iran will establish its operations in Belgium to ensure impunity,” says the statement.
He concluded that “This legislation could unleash terror. This contrasts with the international unity against Vladimir Putin. It is a contradiction.
Betancourt said, “I was a hostage for six years and it is important to highlight this book.” These things were all known to me, but I also wanted to learn more about the plot. It revealed something to me that was very troubling: the human aspect of the plot. It is important to remember that we are referring to one of Iran’s most powerful agents, and the 1st Iranian diplomat who was convicted by a European Court for such a crime.
Reporters based in Brussels heard her say that she was keen for justice to be done. However, it was difficult because he was a diplomat. Many agencies had to present all evidence to the judge, who had to make the hard decision to hold a diplomat. This is unusual.
She stated that “he was sentenced to twenty years, the maximum, and the reason is because he’s a very dangerous individual, dangerous in Iran as well as around the globe,”
She said, “My concern about him is that he might be sent back to Iran. This must be examined carefully before we grant a passport for Iranian criminals around the globe who are under the protection the Iranian regime. The blackmail was used to get him to sign the treaty to bring him back to Iran. My family and I suffered for six years as hostages. We still feel the trauma from this 15-year-long freedom. Blackmail is something I have seen firsthand. We will only open Pandora’s Box if we do.
“I was freed by an outstanding military operation. This opened the way for a peace agreement in my country. All capitals of the EU have been victims to mass killings, and they all share a common thread. They will find a way out if we negotiate and exchanging criminals. While I don’t think we should ignore this problem, we need diplomacy to bring back our citizens. But we can’t exchange them for criminals.
Mohammad Mohaddessin (Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the NCRI) was another speaker. He spoke about the Iranian regime’s apparatus, and how impunity can facilitate more terrorist acts. He also said that Paris was state terror and was made at the highest levels. The EU failed to act, which further encouraged the regime to seek the release of this man under diplomatic immunity. They also demand compensation for his unlawful detention. He said.
He claimed that the Belgian treaty he signed would give carte blanche to the regime, and other similar plots, so it was time for Europe take decisive action to shut down all its diplomatic missions and expel its diplomats.”
Mark Demesmaeker (a member of Belgium’s Senate and ex MEP) was also on the panel. He said that there had been opposition to the Treaty in Belgium. He said, “I was also moved and impressed by Ingrid’s speech today. Although many members of parliament were opposed to the deal, it was approved. This deal is extremely detrimental to democracy, and it also affects the credibility of my country. This is the issue.
Extradition would send a “bad message to the international community,” he said. Why would you release a terrorist who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison? This is a tragic decision for Belgium, and encourages Iran to take more hostages. It is a insult to all those who brought him to justice. They will be disappointed. “It is amazing that so many questions must be asked to Belgium about this,” stated the MP.
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