Sweden’s foreign minister has expressed extreme worries over reports about the imminent execution of a Swedish-Iranian scientist jailed in Iran.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Ann Linde reacted to “extremely worrying media reports today that Iran may carry out the death penalty on Ahmadreza Djalali (Jalali)” in the next two weeks.
She said Sweden and the European Union condemn the death penalty and demand that Djalali be released, adding that “We have repeatedly stated this to Iranian representatives. We are in contact with Iran.”
Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA broke the news earlier in the day, quoting an unnamed official that Djalali was found guilty of “espionage for the Zionist regime” and his death sentence has now been confirmed by the Supreme Court.
Djalali was arrested when he accepted an invitation by a university to visit Iran in 2016. Authorities accused the researcher of espionage – a charge they often use against foreigners and dual nationals that they want to hold as a bargaining chip. Later, Djalali was sentenced to death as Iran tried to ramp up pressure on European countries to free individuals arrested for terrorist activities or on violations of human rights.
The ISNA report also referred to one of these individuals, Hamid Nouri, who was on trial in Sweden until this week, saying that his arrest was meant to put pressure on Iran to release Djalali.
Sweden arrested Nouri, now 61, upon his arrival in Sweden at Stockholm Airport in 2019 and in August 2021put him on trial over the mass execution and torture of political prisoners at Gohardasht Prison in Iran in July and August 1988.