Report: Iran Sentences Belgian to 40 Years in Prison on 'Fabricated' Charges

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei / Getty Images
January 10, 2023

DUBAI (Reuters)—Iran has sentenced a Belgian national to 40 years in jail and 74 lashes for charges including spying, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, a significant increase on the 28-year sentence Belgium had reported in December.

Aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele was sentenced on four charges, including spying on Iran, cooperating with the United States against Iran, currency smuggling, and money laundering, Tasnim reported, adding that he could appeal the verdict.

Vandecasteele has denied all the charges.

Belgium's Justice Minister in December said Vandecasteele was in prison "for a fabricated series of crimes" and had been sentenced as retribution for a 20-year jail sentence Belgian courts imposed on an Iranian diplomat in 2021.

Assadolah Assadi was found guilty of attempted terrorism after a foiled plot to bomb a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), opposed to the Islamic Republic, near Paris in June 2018.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Conor Humphries)