In a move to denounce the arbitrary incarceration of a Belgian aid worker in Iran, his niece locked herself in a cage in the western city of Tournai on Saturday.

Olivier Vandecasteele was detained in 2022 on trumped-up charges and sentenced to 40 years in prison by the judiciary of the Islamic Republic.

He also received a sentence of 74 lashes for alleged “spying and cooperation with the United States, money laundering and currency smuggling.”

The symbolic move by Manon Vandecasteele, however, was aimed at denouncing any progress for the release of her uncle and godfather.

Approximately a hundred people gathered on the Grand Place where Manon locked herself in a small steel cage.

Putting on a white jumpsuit and a blindfold, the 19-year-old knelt on the ground while the crowd applauded.

Increasing public awareness and mobilizing the public are two objectives Manon hopes to achieve through her campaign for the release of the humanitarian worker.

Belgium and Vandecasteele’s family believe he is innocent and a victim of hostage taking by the Iranian regime.

Belgium’s justice minister said in January that Vandecasteele had been imprisoned “for a fabricated series of crimes” and had been sentenced as retribution for a 20-year jail term Belgian courts imposed on Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi in 2021.

Assadi, 50, a former attaché at the Iranian embassy in Austria, was convicted of plotting to bomb a gathering of the exiled opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) near Paris on June 30, 2018.

Source » iranintl