Iranian President ratifies prisoner exchange treaty with Belgium

Iranian President ratifies prisoner exchange treaty with Belgium
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Credit: Belga

On Sunday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ratified the prisoner exchange treaty with Belgium, the official Irna news agency announced and reported by the Belga News Agency.

The treaty was first approved by the Iranian parliament on 24 August and then on 29 October by the Expediency Council. This body judges whether the law is in line with the constitution.

The president has now officially "ratified the law on the transfer of convicts between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Belgium allowing its implementation," Irna said.

Release of Belgian aid worker

In July, Belgian MPs ratified by a large majority the treaty on the mutual transfer of convicts between Iran and Belgium. The Belgian government defends the treaty as the only way to obtain the release of Olivier Vandecasteele, an aid worker arrested on 24 February in Tehran.

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The treaty has sparked controversy in Belgium, with critics seeing it as an open door to the handover to Tehran, and the possible pardon, of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat sentenced in 2021 in Belgium to 20 years in prison for attempted terrorism.

The Belgian judiciary had frozen his surrender to Tehran after the vote of the Parliament.

Last September, Olivier Vandecasteele's family denounced his "undignified" detention conditions and feared "irreversible damage" to his health.


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