The lawyer representing the civil parties in the case against an Iranian diplomat on trial in Belgium for planning to bomb a meeting of an exiled opposition group in France in 2018 said he is confident a verdict would be reached by next month.
“I believe we truly obliterated every legal argument, which was proposed by the defense of Mr. (Assadolah) Assadi and the other three Iranian defendants,” Rik Vanreusel, a criminal law lawyer who is part of the legal team representing the civil parties, told Al Arabiya.
“The prosecution has demanded the maximum sentence, which is possible in Belgium for attempted terrorist murder and being a member of a terrorist group, which is 20 years. The other defendants were requested to go to prison for amounts of 18, 18 and 15 years,” Vanreusel added.
Belgian prosecutors have charged Vienna-based diplomat Assadolah Assadi and the three others with plotting an attack on a rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Assadi, who was arrested while on holiday in Germany and handed over to Belgium, is refusing to appear in court and did not attend the first day of the trial in Antwerp; he has not commented on the charges.
“Mr. Assadi, of course, he has said, by way of the Iranian embassy and also by writing a letter to the court that he refuses the competence of the court, that he refuses to assist and attend the meetings, the hearings because he believes since he is a diplomat and accredited diplomat, he can do whatever he chooses,” Vanreusel said.
“Even for a fake diplomat, it is very unfortunate that Mr. Assadi would not even recognize this court and will not even bear any responsibility regarding the attempted terrorist bombing plot, which would have killed several hundreds, maybe thousands of people in Paris in the heart of Europe,” he added.
Vanreusel said the trial will continue on Friday with Assadi’s legal team defending their positions. He added that the court will close the debates on Friday and will render a verdict in about one month, with the exact date of verdict set to also be decided following the trial’s concluding remarks.
(With inputs from Reuters)