An Iranian diplomat has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court for an attempted bomb attack in Paris in 2018, on a rally that was attended by five British MPs.
A court in Antwerp convicted Assadollah Assadi of attempted terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.
Assadi contested all the charges against him and has claimed diplomatic status. He did not attend the hearing this week. His lawyer said he was likely to appeal.
Assadollah Assadi, 48, is accused of smuggling a bomb in 2018 made from ‘Mother of Satan’ explosives to Europe from Tehran in a diplomatic bag that was exempt from airport security checks ahead of the event. Prosecutors say he then handed the bag off to accomplices who were supposed to plant it at a summit held by Iranian opposition leaders in Paris.
Belgian police officers, tipped off by intelligence services about a possible attack against the annual meeting of an Iranian opposition group, stopped a couple traveling in a Mercedes car.
In their luggage, they found 550 grams of the unstable TATP explosive – the same kind used in the Manchester Arena bombing – along with a detonator.
Assadi was sentenced to 20 years, the maximum term allowed while his accomplices received sentences ranged from 15 to 18 years.
CFI Officer and MP for Hendon, who was at the conference, said: “This individual would never have acted alone with every move supported and sanctioned by the Iranian regime in Tehran.
He underlined: “The UK must now hold the leaders to account for their involvement in terrorism through prosecution and imposing punitive sanctions. In addition, the UK must proscribe the IRGC in their entirety to prevent another planned attack. This behaviour has to be stopped and by turning off the supply of money and resources we can do this”.
CFI Vice-Chairman Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP, who spoke on Britain’s behalf at the conference, told The Sun last year: “Sending a bomb to Europe in a diplomatic bag on a commercial flight is an outrage… If the court decides that is what happened it will be shocking. I feel I’ve had a lucky escape”.