Brussels, (Brussels Morning) – Prime Minister Alexander De Croo requested a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi a few weeks ago. He will discuss the fate of Swedish-Iranian VUB guest professor Ahmadreza Djalali even more than he had planned, said BRUZZ.
Iran’s state press agency ISNA reported on Wednesday that Iran will carry out the execution of Djalali by May 21 at the latest. The Swedish-Iranian doctor and visiting professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was arrested in 2016 in his native country on suspicion of espionage. He was sentenced to death a year later after an unfair trial, according to human rights experts. Iran’s announcement that Djalali’s execution will soon be carried out may not be a coincidence.
The court of appeal in Antwerp will consider the case of three Iranian terror suspects, who were convicted here on Thursday. Tehran previously suggested that they want to trade Djalali for a fourth suspect, who withdrew his appeal. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who received questions from Maggie De Block (Open Vld) and Ellen Samyn (Vlaams Belang) in the House on Thursday about the situation of Djalali, emphasises that judges in our country judge independently, “however delicate the file is”. .
He also stressed that the news from the Iranian news agency has not been confirmed for the time being, neither by Foreign Affairs nor by Djalali’s lawyer, nor by the Swedish government. That does not alter the fact that our country is “particularly concerned” about the fate of Djalali, the prime minister said.
The situation has been closely monitored for years and that is also the case now. For example, the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs contacted the Iranian embassy on Thursday to once again press for clarity and to make clear again the Belgian resistance to carrying out the execution. In addition, our country has asked the European External Action Service (EEAS) to raise the Djalali case during a planned visit to Tehran next week.
Finally, a few weeks ago, De Croo requested a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. He will stress the situation of the Iranian-Swedish doctor even more than he already intended, he said. De Block thanked the Prime Minister for his efforts. “It comes down to saving a human life. If we succeed in that, it is a victory for everyone.” According to Ellen Samyn, the Belgian government should have isolated Iran internationally much earlier. She called for harsh economic and diplomatic sanctions against the regime in Tehran.
The presidents of the House and the Senate will sign a letter together to discuss the fate of Djalali, said House President Eliane Tillieux at the start of the session on Thursday. N-VA faction leader Peter De Roover insisted on a signal from parliament, separate from the government. On Wednesday, the Flemish Parliament unanimously approved a resolution in which the hemisphere opposes the imminent execution of Djalali.