Stockholm academic given death sentence in Iran: reports

Stockholm academic given death sentence in Iran: reports
Ahmadreza Djalali has been detained in Iran since last year. Photo: Personal/TT
Ahmadreza Djalali, a researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, has been sentenced to death in Iran, according to reports.

Researcher Ahmadreza Djalali has been detained since April 2016. He was arrested in Tehran for espionage and 'enmity with God' – a crime which in Iran can result in the death penalty – during a visit for a conference.

An Iranian citizen, the academic has a permanent residence permit in Sweden, where he conducted research in disaster medicine at the prestigious Karolinska Institute, and lived with his wife and two children.

“We have received reliable information that suggests he has been sentenced to death. We are working to obtain a confirmation. We would like to stress that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs condemns the use of the death penalty in all cases,” Lina Eidmark of the Swedish foreign ministry told TT.

Acting on the basis of information available to it, the ministry has raised the issue with high-level Iranian representatives, according to the report.

Eidmark said that Sweden would work to the extent it could on “all diplomatic levels”.

“In general I can say that he is an Iranian citizen, he is not a Swedish citizen, which makes it very difficult for Sweden to assist [him] in circumstances like these,” she added.

In August, human rights organization Amnesty International urged the authorities to release Djalali or give him a fair and secure trial.

“We hope he will be released. He has been in prison since April last year on extremely vague grounds,” Amnesty Sweden spokesperson Ami Hedenborg said.

“You have to ask yourself what it is really about. There is a great deal of concern over what may happen,” Hedenborg added.

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