Iranian diplomat convicted of planning attack on opposition


Heavily armed policemen patroll outside the courthouse during the trial of four persons including an Iranian diplomate and Belgian-Iranian couple before the Antwerp criminal court in Antwerp, on February 4, 2021. – A Belgian court returns a verdict on February 4, 2021, in the trial of an Iranian diplomat accused of plotting a bomb attack against opposition activists meeting in France. Assadollah Assadi, a 49-year-old formerly based in Vienna, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of plotting to target the June 30, 2018 rally. The gathering in Villepinte outside Paris included senior leaders of the exiled National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) and some high-profile supporters. (Photo by DIRK WAEM / BELGA / AFP) / Belgium OUT (Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — An Iranian official on Thursday was convicted of masterminding a thwarted bomb attack against an exiled Iranian opposition group in France in 2018 and sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court that rejected his claim of diplomatic immunity.

Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat detained in Belgium, refused to testify during his trial last year, invoking his diplomatic status. He did not attend the hearing at the Antwerp courthouse.

Prosecutors had requested the maximum prison sentence of 20 years on charges of attempted terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.

Assadi’s lawyer said his client contested all the charges against him.

Three other suspects also received jail sentences.

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