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Iran sentences Belgian to 40 years in prison, 74 lashes

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Associated Press/Photo by Vahid Salemi

Iran sentences Belgian to 40 years in prison, 74 lashes

Iran in a closed-door trial convicted a Belgian aid worker of espionage and collaboration with hostile governments, Iranian media reported Tuesday. Olivier Vandecasteele was sentenced to 40 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, and 74 lashes. Human rights groups describe lashes in Iran as being struck, usually across the back, by a meter-long leather whip. Fainting often occurs after ten lashes, but it’s possible to survive more than a hundred lashes. Vandecasteele, his family, and the Belgian government maintain his innocence.

Is this in response to anything? Belgium’s justice minister said in December that Iran sentenced Vandecasteele in retribution for Belgium jailing Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi in 2018. Belgian officials accused Assadi of leading a bombing plot in France and sentenced him in 2021. Many Western officials have accused Iran of taking prisoners as bargaining chips. Vandecasteele’s family says he has been in prison since February and is currently on a hunger strike.

Dig deeper: Read A.S. Ibrahim’s column for WORLD Opinions about the thinking behind Islamic extremism.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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