Iran Envoy Sentenced To 20-Year Prison Term Over Bomb Plot At French Rally
An Iranian diplomat accused of planning to bomb a meeting of an exiled opposition group was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday in the first trial of an Iranian official for suspected terrorism in Europe since Iran’s 1979 revolution.
Assadolah Assadi was found guilty of attempted terrorism after a foiled plot to bomb a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) near Paris in June 2018, Belgian prosecution lawyers and civil parties to the prosecution said.
The third counsellor at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, he was arrested in Germany before being tranfered to Belgium for trial. French officials have said he was running an Iranian state intelligence network and was acting on orders from Tehran.
He did not attend his hearings, which were held behind closed doors amid high security, and neither he, not his lawyer, have commented.
In March, he warned authorities of possible retaliation by unidentified groups if he is found guilty, according to a police document obtained by Reuters. The courtroom was heavily guarded, with armoured vehicles outside and police helicopters overhead.
A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency on Jan. 24 that Assadi’s diplomatic immunity from prosecution had been violated and that he was a victim of a Western trap.
Prosecution lawyer Georges-Henri said outside the court in Antwerp: “The ruling shows two things: A diplomat doesn’t have immunity for criminal acts … and the responsibility of the Iranian state in what could have been carnage.”
Read More: Reuters