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Thousands protest in Brussels demanding release of Belgian aid worker



On Sunday, 22 January, thousands marched through Brussels in protest against the Iranian arrest of Olivier Vandecasteele, a Belgian aid worker. He was sentenced for spying charges and will spend 40 years in prison.

The allegations are denied by the Belgian government.

Protesters held banners reading “His life is in danger, give your freedom” and “#Free Olivier Vandecasteele”, which included Vandecasteele’s family, friends and colleagues.

Vandecasteele was sentenced last month. According to the Belgian justice minister , Vandecasteele was sentenced for “an fabricated series crime” and was being punished for a 20-year sentence that Belgian courts had handed an Iranian diplomat.

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Next month, the Belgian Constitution Court will hold an inquiry into whether a prisoner swap agreement with Iran can be legalized. According to Belgian media, this could lead the countries to exchange prisoners. Vandecasteele is an Iranian diplomat convicted of planning a bomb attack on exiled opposition group.

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