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Belgium ratifies treaty allowing extradition of terror suspects to Iran

Protest in London, UK, against the Belgian parliament’s approval of a prisoner swap treaty with Iran on 21 July 2022
Protest in London, UK, against the Belgian parliament’s approval of a prisoner swap treaty with Iran on 21 July 2022

Belgium today ratified a controversial treaty with Iran that would allow Iranians convicted of terrorism to be extradited to the Islamic Republic.

Following a late night debate, voting took place in the early hours of today, and saw 79 members of parliament vote in favour and 41 against, 11 abstained.

The treaty permits Iranian nationals who have been convicted of terrorism in Belgium to be returned to Iran to serve their sentence and vica versa. Each country could also issue an amnesty for the captives and free them once they have been extradited.

Officials in Belgium have previously expressed hope that such a deal could lead to the release of Belgian nationals held by Tehran, Reuters reported.

Others fear it could lead to the release of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi. Assadi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Belgium in 2021 over a foiled 2018 bomb plot. His was the first trial of an Iranian official for suspected terrorism in Europe since Iran's 1979 revolution.

Several lawmakers expressed concerns that it could encourage Iran to seize Belgians."Would this open the door to a sort of hostage diplomacy?" asked Greens member Wouter De Vriendt.

READ: Belgium provisionally clears contentious Iran prisoner swap treaty

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BelgiumEurope & RussiaIranMiddle EastNews
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