Human rights groups call on Belgium to reject prisoner swap deal with Iran


More than 10 human rights groups and activists on Tuesday urged Belgian lawmakers to reject a prisoner swap deal with Iran that could lead to the release of a convicted terrorist.

In a statement, the signatories said that the approval of such a treaty condones the Islamic Republic’s hostage-taking policy and undermines the accountability of Iranian officials convicted of acts of terrorism abroad.

“We caution against a political agreement that would legitimize Iran’s hostage-taking and swap deals as acceptable state foreign policy,” they said, adding, “Belgium must denounce the shameless instrumentalization of human lives by Iran to impose its political program on the international community. , not facilitate it.

They called on the Belgian Parliament to say no to a treaty “which could lead to impunity for human rights violators and endanger the lives of Europeans and dual nationals”, noting that the international community should “step up its efforts to hold Iran accountable.” for its violations of human rights and for its shameless instrumentalization of human lives. Impunity should never be an option.

Many people and groups around the world have warned against a prisoner exchange treaty between Belgium and Iran which was adopted by the Belgian parliament’s external relations committee and will be submitted to all 150 members of the chamber on 14 July.

A bill could lead to the release of Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat serving a 20-year prison sentence in Belgium for planning a terror attack in Paris four years ago.


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