A Belgian aid worker, arrested almost a year ago in Iran, will have to serve a prison sentence of 12 and a half years out of a total sentence of 40 years, the body of the judiciary announced on Tuesday (January 10th).
Olivier Vandecasteele, 41, has been detained in Tehran since February 24, 2022, the date of his arrest in the Iranian capital.
This aid worker was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison, but due to the confusion of sentences, he should only serve the highest, twelve and a half years.
"Cooperation with the United States"
The latter was pronounced for “
espionage against the Islamic Republic of Iran for the benefit of a foreign intelligence service
”, indicated Mizan Online.
Justice also sentenced him to twelve and a half years in prison for "
cooperation with a hostile government, the United States, against the Islamic Republic of Iran
", added the same source.
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He was also sentenced to two and a half years in prison and 74 lashes for "
professional smuggling of currency in the amount of $500,000
", and to twelve and a half years "
for money laundering
", according to Mizan. Online.
This verdict "
is preliminary and can be challenged before the court of appeal within 20 days
", the agency said.
Call to leave the country
In mid-December, Olivier Vandecasteele's family announced that he had been sentenced to 28 years in prison, indicating that they did not know the charges against him.
A few days later, Belgium had called on its nationals “
passing through Iran
” to leave the country “as soon as possible” because of “
increased risks of arbitrary detention
” after this conviction.
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A showdown has pitted Brussels and Tehran since the arrest of an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, sentenced in Belgium in 2021 to 20 years in prison for a planned "
" attack against the Iranian opposition.
In July, the Belgian Parliament had adopted a treaty for the transfer of convicts between Belgium and Iran, which was to allow the return of Olivier Vandecasteele.
But this treaty was suspended at the beginning of December last by the Constitutional Court following numerous appeals by Iranian opponents in exile, fearing the surrender to Tehran and a possible pardon of Assadollah Assadi.