Protest over Belgian aid worker jailed in Iran for alleged espionage

Access to the comments Comments
By Mark Armstrong  with AP
Demonstrators held up photos of Olivier Vandecasteele at rally in Brussels.
Demonstrators held up photos of Olivier Vandecasteele at rally in Brussels.   -   Copyright  Photo : Olivier Matthys (Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved)

Hundreds of people held a demonstration in Brussels in support of a Belgian humanitarian worker who's been detained in Iran since February 2022.

Olivier Vandecasteele was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison in Tehran for alleged 'espionage'.

The 42-year-old was also sentenced to 74 lashes. His parents were at the rally.

"It is very difficult for our family," explained his father Bernard Vandecasteele. "Fortunately, everyone and all of Olivier`s friends are helping us every day so that we are able to continue living."

"It`s very difficult for him, and for us too, of course," added his mother  Annie Santy, "his circumstances and his health are not good."

Olivier's parents say their son has lost 25 kilos and has been psychologically weakened after 11 months in solitary confinement.

According to Amnesty International, the conviction makes no sense, the arrest was arbitrary and Olivier didn't receive a fair trial.

Watch the video in the player above.