Belgian court upholds prisoner swap treaty with Iran

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo hails constitutional court's decision

Ömer Tuğrul Çam  | 04.03.2023 - Update : 04.03.2023
Belgian court upholds prisoner swap treaty with Iran


Belgium's Constitutional Court ruled Friday that a prisoner transfer treaty with Iran is legal. 

The court rejected an appeal to suspend the treaty with Iran, paving the way for the release of Belgian national Olivier Vandecasteele in exchange for Iranian diplomat Assadolah Assadi, who was convicted in Belgium for a planned bomb attack on the Iranian opposition in France.

But the court ruled that any possible swap involving Vandecasteele and Assadi would be subject to a legal analysis.

Tehran sentenced Vandecasteele in January to 40 years in prison plus 74 lashes and a fine for spying for the US, money laundering and currency smuggling.

The deal between Belgium and Iran was suspended by the Court last year after opponents of the Iranian regime living abroad appealed its legality.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo hailed the decision and said, "we are happy."

The government has always considered the treaty to be an important legal instrument to enable Vandecasteele’s return, he added.

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