Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo announced the release this Friday, May 26, of Olivier Vandecastile, a Belgian humanitarian convicted of espionage in Iran, where he was detained for four hundred and fifty-five days: “While I am telling you, the Belgian Olivier Vandecastile is on his way to Belgium. If all goes according to plan, he will be with us today. Finally free.”

The plane that brings him back to Belgium “should arrive between 9 and 9:30 pm”, accurate Liberty, which explains how the prisoner was led “Last night to Oman, where he was picked up by a detachment of Belgian soldiers and diplomats.”

This ad ended “four hundred and fifty-five days in a prison in Tehran”, “in unbearable conditions”, explains the Belgian newspaper, while Olivier Vandecastil “innocent”, reminded the Prime Minister, who added:

“For me, the choice has always been obvious, Olivier’s life has always taken over. This is the responsibility that I take on. And that’s what I’m guessing.

Arrested in Tehran in February 2022, Olivier Vandecastile was sentenced to “Forty years in prison and physical punishment of 74 lashes” for espionage. Belonging “good signals” have increased in recent weeks since his release, in particular the implementation of “agreement on the transfer of convicted persons” negotiations between the Belgian and Iranian authorities.

Hostage against a terrorist?

The agreement was to “to allow an exchange between Olivier Vandecastil and Assadola Assadi, an Iranian diplomat sentenced in Belgium to twenty years in prison for a planned terrorist attack on an Iranian opposition rally”, explain Evening. But the prime minister “Don’t say a word.”

Only the Sultanate of Oman, “intermediary” between Tehran and Brussels, “it is indicated that the humanist was released as part of ‘mutual exchange’ two detainees between Iran and Belgium.” On Friday afternoon, the Belgian government denied the use of the treaty.

While welcoming the release of the aid worker, the opposition believes the 42-year-old Belgian “was a victim of the Belgian-Iranian agreement on the transfer of convicts, since Iran understood that it needed a hostage to free the diplomat Assadol Assadi”, explains to the Brussels daily Peter De Ruwer of the N-VA (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, Neo-Flemish Alliance), a conservative nationalist.