Honorable Alexander De Croo
Office of the Prime Minister of Belgium
Rue de la Loi 16
BE-1000 Brussels, Belgium
6 July 2022
Honorable Alexander De Croo,
As the Director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan, I write to you to express my deep concern on the scandaleous agreement signed last March in Brussels by an official of the Belgian Justice Ministry and the Iranian regime’s ambassador in Belgium.
Apparently, a bill has been sent to the Belgian Parliament for voting recommending that prisoners of Iranian nationality in Belgium and prisoners of Belgian nationality in Iran, should be allowed to serve their prison sentences in their respective home countries. which would allow convicted Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi for a terrorist plot on the Iranian resistance gathering in 2018 to be transferred back to Iran where he would certainly be set free.
Assadi was convicted by the Belgian Judiciary for masterminding the attempted bombing of an international ‘Free Iran’ convention in France in 2018 to a definitive maximum possible sentence of 20-year in prison and stated that he was acting on behalf of the Iranian state.
Assadi was using the cover of being a diplomat in the Iranian embassy in Vienna to enable him to plan a terrorist bomb attack that would have caused carnage on European soil, potentially killing hundreds of men, women, and children.
I don’t believe that Mr. Assadi had acted on his own initiative. Therefore, “allowing him to serve the remainder of his 20-year sentence in Iran” in practice means to return him free to his accomplices. It would make a complete mockery of justice and send the clearest signal to the Iranian regime that they can conduct terrorist attacks in Europe and around the world with impunity. Indeed, they may even be encouraged to take further European hostages to hold as bargaining chips for future prisoner exchanges.
It looks very strange at the background of European unity and solidarity in responding to the tragic events in Ukraine. I can’t imagine that your Government can return to Russia the criminals sentenced for shelling the civilians or planning some massive terrorist acts.
I call you to follow the appeal of UN Special Rapporteur on Iran to account for Iran Government’s systematic human rights abuses and terrorism.
Therefore I urge you to stop this decision in respect of justice in your country and for the sake of the security of Europe.
Ms. Sophia Williams, Foreign Secretary
Vincent Van Quickenborne, Justice Minister
Éliane Tillieux, Parliament speaker