Olivier could have told a bit more about the cell where he is kept in solitary confinement. It would be “a cell in a cellar, without windows and with only an opening in the wall for ventilation”. Moreover, he is said to have moved and is no longer in Evin prison – the complex in Tehran where the Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali (known to us for his work as a guest professor at the VUB) is now incarcerated. The family does not know where Vandecasteele is staying.
The family is also still in the dark about the background of his arrest. “The reasons for his arrest are not known at this time and he has not been officially charged. He is in complete isolation, suffers from serious health problems and has no access to the lawyers of his choice.” According to Van Steirtegem, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs is following the file closely and a solution is discreetly sought, but the family or friends are not given any details about this either.
The family repeats the appeal it made to the Iranian government before. “We are forced to urge the Iranian authorities to show restraint and balance in the way they treat Olivier. We reiterate our demands, namely the release of Olivier, who has been unjustly detained, and immediate conditions of dignified and humane detention (release from solitary confinement, access to a cell with a window, regular contact with relatives and consular services) until his release.”