Former European ministers urge Belgium not to release Iranian terrorist Assadollah Assadi
In a statement, 21 former European ministers urged the Prime Minister of Belgium to make it clear that the prisoner swap treaty with Iran will not apply to terrorists. Once signed, this treaty may allow Brussels to release jailed Iranian diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi, who was caught red-handed in plotting to detonate a bomb at the 2018 opposition rally in Paris.
“Our direct experience shows that releasing Assadi under any pretext would only encourage Tehran’s terrorist conduct in Europe, would endanger the security of Europe and European citizens,” reads the statement among other things.
The full text of this statement is reproduced here.
Terrorism is a growing threat to our democratic values. Fighting it is a common goal of all European countries and is instrumental in safeguarding peace and collective security.
We former ministers from various European countries are deeply alarmed by the prospect of the Belgian government freeing Assadollah Assadi, the Iranian diplomat who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for attempting to detonate a bomb at an international rally.
Assadi, who is one of only 20 people on the EU terrorist blacklist, was condemned by the Belgian judiciary for having conceived the thwarted terrorist attack on the rally organized by the Iranian dissident movement “National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)” in France on June 30, 2018. The meeting was attended by tens of thousands of people, including hundreds of distinguished international personalities from both sides of the Atlantic. Several signatories to this statement were potential victims of the terrorist plot.
It is very significant that, after more than two years of investigation, the Belgian judiciary definitively sentenced Assadi to the maximum penalty and declared unequivocally that he was acting on behalf of the Iranian state. It was the first time a diplomat had been tried for his role in a terrorist plot in the heart of Europe.
Assadi’s release could result from a treaty between Belgium and Iran that allows for the transfer of sentenced persons from the territory of one Party to the territory of the other Party. Article 13 of the treaty states: “Any Party may grant pardon, amnesty or commutation of the sentence according to its Constitution or other laws”.
Meanwhile, the Iranian authorities have repeatedly publicly stated that they do not recognize the Belgian court’s decision to sentence Assadi. Senior officials in Tehran, including the foreign minister and the spokesman for the foreign ministry, have called for Assadi’s immediate and unconditional release.
It would be completely illusory to think that Assadi will serve the rest of his 20-year sentence in Iran, the state responsible for the failed terrorist attack. Assadi’s repatriation to Iran would be a mockery of the rule of law in Europe and would foster further impunity for the Iranian government and its officials involved in terrorism and crimes against humanity.
This is made more alarming by the fact that Iranian state terror goes hand in hand with hostage diplomacy, which the regime uses to protect itself from accountability. Whenever Tehran has faced even a weak challenge to its terrorism, it has arrested innocent Westerners on spurious charges and exploited their suffering as a bargaining chip to obtain concessions from Western countries. Iranian media have made it clear that some of these people will only be released if Assadi is released.
It is very revealing that Iran has arrested several Swedish, French and German citizens in recent months, replenishing its reserve of Western hostages. This trend has to stop. To save and safeguard the lives of their citizens, all democratic countries should adopt a strong policy and put pressure on Iran to stop this inhumane practice.
Our direct experience shows that releasing Assadi under any pretext would only encourage Tehran’s terrorist conduct in Europe, endanger the protection and security of Europe and European citizens, and widen the impunity unduly enjoyed by regime officials. Iranian.
The implementation of the Belgian-Iranian treaty and the return of Assadi would set a dangerous precedent and seriously weaken the rule of law. This would have a colossal impact on Europe’s fight against terrorism and send the message that the Iranian regime can shirk responsibility for its grave international crimes and mass terror in Europe. Belgium would take a heavy responsibility in this regard.
Recently, after a complaint presented by the NCRI and several international dignitaries, the Brussels Court of Appeal issued a provisional sentence blocking Assadi’s transfer to Iran. As people who have long served European nations and their citizens in government positions, we urgently call on the Belgian government to make that blockade permanent and to lift its decision on the “transfer of sentenced persons” treaty.
At the very least, Brussels should make absolutely clear that the treaty will not apply to terrorists, and certainly not to terrorist plot coordinator Assadollah Assadi. For the sake of the common safety and security of all European nations, he must serve his entire sentence in Belgium.
Janez Jansa, Former Prime Minister – Slovenia
Iveta Radicova, Former Prime Minister – Slovakia
Petre Roman, Former Prime Minister – RomaniaCopyAMP code.
Geir H. Haarde, Former Prime Minister – Iceland
Franz Joseph Jung, Former Federal Minister for Defense – Germany
Theo Francken, MP, Former Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration – Belgium
Ryszard Kalisz, Former Minister of the Interior and Administration – Poland
David Jones, MP, Former Minister of State for Brexit – UK
Alain Vivien, Former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs – France
Jan-Erik Enestam, Former Minister for Defense – Finland
Horst Teltschik, Close adviser of Chancellor Helmuth Kohl – Germany
John Perry, Former Minister for Small Business – Ireland
Marcin Święcicki, Former Minister for Foreign Economic Relations, former Mayor of Warsaw – Poland
Kimmo Sasi, Former Minister for Transport and Communications – Finland
Karel Schwarzenberg, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs – Czech Republic
Francis Zammit Dimech, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs – Malta
Anatol Șalaru, Former Minister of Defense – Moldova
Edvard Solnes, Former Minister for Environment – Iceland
Eduard Lintner, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Interior – Germany
Mario Galea, MP, Former Secretary of State for Older Persons and Care – Malta
Giuseppe Morganti, Former State Secretary for Education, Culture and University – San Marin
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