Belgian Humanitarian Imprisoned in Iran: Government Justifies Release Due to Imminent Threats to Belgium

2023-06-01 17:01:04

We had information that Olivier Vandecasteele was going to be sentenced to deathThe Minister of Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne, explained to the House on Thursday the reasons which led the government to use article 167 of the Constitution to achieve the release last Friday of the Belgian humanitarian imprisoned in Iran for 455 days.

Upon release, the executive justified this appeal because of a “serious, imminent and permanent” threat to Belgium.

According to Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open Vld), it was not only the risk of a death sentence but also the threat of arbitrary arrests of Belgians in Iran or in countries friendly to this regime. “Our security services say that the threat has diminished,” recalled the Minister of Justice. The fate of Olivier Vandecasteele was linked to the fate of Assadolah Assadi. “This is the reality. Those who say otherwise do not know the file“, concludes Vincent Van Quickenborne.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hadja Lahbib (MR), for her part indicated that the Iranian diplomat was subject to a ban on entry into the Schengen zone and a blue notice from Interpol.

These answers did not convince the opposition deputies Peter De Roover (N-VA), Ellen Samyn (Vlaams Belang) and Sophie Rohonyi (DéFI) who challenged the government on this subject. “Belgium acted exactly as the Iranian regime hoped“, deplored Sophie Rohonyi, calling for the repeal of the transfer treaty concluded with this country which “legalizes this odious hostage diplomacy.” “Treaty or not, prisoner exchange or not, he will continue his hostage diplomacy“, reacted the deputy of the majority Malik Ben Achour (PS) on Twitter.

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