Saturday, April 20, 2024

Oman announces prisoner swap between Iran, Belgium

Iran and Belgium have sent prisoners to the Omani capital of Muscat to carry out an exchange, Oman's foreign ministry confirmed on Friday.

“The individuals who were released have been transported from Tehran and Brussels to Muscat today… in preparation for their return to their respective countries,” a statement read, without giving further details.

In February 2021, a Belgian court sentenced Assadollah Assadi to 20 years in prison after accusing him of planning an alleged attack against the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO).

Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the jail term as completely unlawful at the time, stressing it is in violation of Assadi’s diplomatic immunity, and a result of Belgium’s falling under the influence of the MKO.

Back in March, Belgium’s Constitutional Court turned down a request for the annulment of a treaty with Iran, which authorizes the exchange of prisoners between the countries.

In line with the deal, Iranians convicted in Belgium would be allowed to serve their sentences at home and vice versa. The treaty paved the way for the release of Assadi.

The so-called “National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),” an umbrella group of anti-Iran outfits such as the MKO, has been trying to pose some legal challenges to it, alleging that Assadi should remain in prison.

Belgium’s parliament ratified the treaty back last July.

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