Belgian Justice minister Van Quickenborne: "We will get Vandecasteele back from Iran"
Belgium will succeed in getting Olivier Vandecasteele back from Iran. Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD) said so on Sunday, although he did not want to put a concrete timing on it.
"We will do everything to get the man back, within the principles of the rule of law, and we will succeed. That is my firm will and that of all my colleagues in the government," Van Quickenborne declared Sunday on the programme De Zevende Dag on Flemish public television.
The NGO employee was unjustly arrested in Iran ten months ago and has been detained in appalling conditions. Earlier this week, it was reported that Vandecasteele received a 40-year prison sentence. He was also sentenced to a physical punishment of 74 lashes. Officially, he is accused of espionage.
"This has nothing to do with the rule of law," Van Quickenborne said. He noted that his Foreign Affairs colleague Hadja Lahbib (MR) had summoned the Iranian ambassador to our country. "He could not confirm that verdict."