a trial will be held in Belgium in the fall

The gathering targeted by the attempted attack, in Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis), on June 30.

Belgian justice returned, Wednesday, July 15, to a criminal court four people, including an Iranian diplomat, suspected of being involved in a planned attack against opponents of the Tehran regime in 2018 in France, informed the federal prosecutor Belgian. Their trial should be held in the fall in Antwerp, where the case was investigated, said Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office.

The decision was taken Wednesday by the council chamber of Antwerp, ruling in camera, which followed the requisitions of the federal prosecution. On July 2, 2018, this prosecutor’s office with jurisdiction over terrorism announced that it had defeated a bomb attack that should have struck, the day before in Villepinte, near Paris, the large annual meeting of the NCRI, entity overseeing the People‚Äôs Mojahedin (MEK, Iranian opposition).

A couple of Belgians of Iranian origin was arrested the same day, June 30, in the Brussels region, in possession of around 500 grams of TATP explosive and a detonator in their car. In addition to this couple, two men also imprisoned in Belgium since 2018 are suspected of having fomented this plan of attack.

One of them, Assadollah Assadi, presented by the opponents targeted as the “Sponsor” of the attack, is an Iranian diplomat who was stationed at the Iranian embassy in Vienna at the time of the events. Arrested in Germany, he was handed over in October 2018 to the Belgian courts. The other man arrested after the project’s failure had been arrested in France and then handed over to Belgian justice during the summer of 2018.

Read also Belgium asks France for Iranian suspect

Diplomatic tensions

The four suspects will be tried for “Terrorist assassination attempts” and “Participation in the activities of a terrorist group”, according to Mr. Van Der Sypt. They face life imprisonment.

This affair, which has been investigated in full secrecy by Belgian justice, has generated diplomatic tensions, particularly between France and Iran. In October 2018, the French authorities accused the Iranian intelligence ministry of having planned the attack, which Tehran firmly denied.

In the eyes of the People’s Mujahedin and their supporters, this “Plot” de Villepinte is an illustration of the “State terrorism” that the regime of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would practice. About fifteen participants in the Villepinte rally became civil parties in the case, including the former hostage of the FARC in Colombia Ingrid Betancourt, according to the Belgian lawyer who defends them, Rik Vanreusel.

The World with AFP


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