Facing terror charges, Iran diplomat skips trial opening day

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Belgian lawyer Sven Mary, center, arrives at the courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. Four people are going on trial in the Belgian city of Antwerp on Friday, accused of planning to bomb a rally of Iranian opposition supporters. The plot was thwarted by a cross-border intelligence operation that led to the arrest of a couple in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) Media www.rajawalisiber.com — An Iranian diplomat suspected of masterminding a thwarted, state-sponsored bomb attack against an exiled Iranian opposition group in France did not show up at a courthouse in Belgium on the opening day of his trial on terror charges Friday, invoking his diplomatic immunity.

FILE – In this June 20, 2009 file photo, Iranians applaud Maryam Rajavi, leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran at a rally in Villepinte, a northern suburb of Paris. Four people are going on trial in the Belgian city of Antwerp on Friday Nov. 27, 2020, accused of planning to bomb a rally of Iranian opposition supporters. The plot was thwarted by a cross-border intelligence operation that led to the arrest of a couple in Brussels. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

 

 

More than two years after the cross-border police operation that foiled the plot, Assadollah Assadi and three other suspects face up to 20 years in prison on charges of “attempted terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.”

Assadollah Assadi, arrives at the courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. Four people are going on trial in the Belgian city of Antwerp on Friday, accused of planning to bomb a rally of Iranian opposition supporters. The plot was thwarted by a cross-border intelligence operation that led to the arrest of a couple in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

 

 

Lawyers from the plaintiffs and representatives of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq opposition group, or MEK, claimed without offering evidence that Assadi — who is in custody — was ordered by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif not to attend the trial. Plaintiffs claim that the diplomat set up the attack on direct orders from Iran’s highest authorities. Tehran has denied having a hand in the plot. (News Sources: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS).

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