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Newsline: Iran state media says diplomat jailed in Belgium with insufficient evidence

Iranian state media says Belgium sentenced an Iranian diplomat to a 20-year prison sentence with insufficient evidence, in what they have branded a politicised case. Asadollah Assadi, the third secretary of Iran’s embassy in Austria, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in February 2021 by a court in Antwerp, Belgium. Assadi, 50, was accused by the Belgian authorities of organising – on behalf of Iranian intelligence – three accomplices to plant a bomb at a gathering of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK), a Europe-based opposition group, in Villepinte near Paris in June 2018. Assadi was found guilty by a Belgian court and sentenced to 20 years. The sentence was confirmed in May 2021 after Assadi refused to file an appeal, as he has contested the legitimacy of the Belgian justice system. State-run IRNA news agency last week said Asadollah Assadi’s trial and sentencing was “a completely preplanned scenario” built on shaky grounds. The semi-official Tasnim news agency published a similar report in which it said that the MEK had framed Assadi. “Based on reports from Assadi’s attorney, the role of this terrorist organisation [MEK] in forging a case against the Iranian diplomat is evident,” Tasnim said. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/26/iran-says-diplomat-imprisoned-with-insufficient-evidence) Both outlets published images of purported evidence and sought to portray how the MEK was involved. Iran has designated the organisation a “terrorist” group, accusing it of carrying out bombing attacks and assassinations and invading Iranian soil with military help from Saddam Hussein during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

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