Refugee gets four years in prison for plotting terror attacks in Iran
An Iranian refugee living in Delft was sentenced to four years in prison on Wednesday. The court in Rotterdam found 42-year-old Eisa S. guilty of plotting and encouraging attacks in Iran carried out by resistance group ASMLA. "Terrorist activities for which there is no justification," the judges ruled.
They also labeled ASMLA as a "criminal and terrorist organization" which S. participated in and helped finance. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) had previously requested a six-year prison term.
Authorities arrested S. early last year after the AIVD intercepted chat messages used to plan attacks against checkpoints, police stations, and engineers in Iran. Plots that were discussed and carried out included the attacks on the country's Revolutionary Guard in September 2018 that left 25 people dead. Three ASMLA leaders were taken into custody in Denmark at the same time S. was arrested.
The chats in the Netherlands were conducted from 2017 to 2020 in Rijswijk using the Telegram and WhatsApp accounts of the ASMLA TV channel, the OM said. The movement seeks the liberation of the Ahvaz region of Iran.
S. denied sending the messages and pointed the finger at the Iranian secret service. He said spies set him up as a fall guy. The court did not believe his theory. "No evidence was found showing the devices were hacked. It is implausible that conversations took place without S.'s knowledge over a period of three years."
The judges said, "S. played an essential role in the intended execution of the attacks." When the verdict was read on Wednesday, they stated, "He maintained contacts with attackers, gave instructions, and coordinated the attacks with suspects in Denmark."
His lawyer previously said that if the court found S. guilty, he would invoke the "right of resistance" to justify violently opposing an occupier in his country, such as Nelson Mandela and others have in the past. However, according to the judges, there is no "universal right of resistance" which justifies violence. "Comparisons with the old situation in South Africa or the occupation of the Netherlands in World War Two are not valid," they stated.
S. "made achieving his goals for the Ahvaz region his life goal," according to the judges.
Reporting by ANP.