Despite the maximum sentence of twenty years during the terror trial at first instance, Assadollah Assadi (49) finally waives the appeal procedure. This is confirmed by his lawyer Dimitri De Béco at the start of the case before the Antwerp court of Appeal on Wednesday morning.
Assadi is considered the mastermind behind the last-minute terror attack in Villepinte, France, in the summer of 2018. The man was also in close contact with high ranks of the Iranian regime.
In Villepinte, during a mass meeting of the Iranian opposition (MEK) in exile – with numerous prominent international speakers present – a bomb had to go off at Assadi’s insistence. However, our Belgian security services, thanks to the Israeli Mossad, were able to intervene in time.
The executors, the Wilrijks-Iranian couple Nasimeh Naami and Amir Saadouni, were arrested in the Brussels Periphery. Their Mercedes had half a kilo of TATP explosives hidden in it. The couple were on their way to the Paris suburb to carry out the plan. Another accomplice, Mehrdad Arefani, was also intercepted in time. Naami and Saadouni maintain to this day that they were under immense pressure from the regime and were blackmailed.
At their high-security trial in Antwerp, they were severely punished at the beginning of February. 15, 17, 18 and 20 years respectively. The court also pointed to the role of Iran and made the link with state terrorism.
Striking: spy Assadi – who always sent his cat during the first trial-thus received the heaviest punishment but is the only one of the four who does not appeal. This was revealed this morning during the preliminary hearing on appeal. A short session followed again with great international interest. The reason for waiving the appeal procedure is to guess. Reports that there is talk behind the scenes of an ultra-secret trade deal with Iran, for example with VUB professor Ahmadreza Djalali as a bargaining chip, can nowhere be backed up. The piste has been discussed in high diplomatic circles in the past, but does not seem to be on the table for the time being.