A Swedish court on Thursday sentenced former Iranian jailor Hamid Nouri to life in prison for his role in a purge of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

Nouri was a former deputy prosecutor at Gohardasht Prison in Karaj near Tehran at the time of the killings.

He was charged with “war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, and participating in the continued crime of refusing to return the bodies of executed prisoners to their families.” He has denied any wrongdoing and said plaintiffs' allegations were a "completely imaginary story".

Witnesses have told Swedish prosecutors that Nouri, who went by the alias Hamid Abbasi at the time, was responsible for handing down death sentences and taking prisoners to where they were hanged or shot.

There are allegations that Iran seeks to exchange Nouri with Swedish-Iranian scientist and academic Ahmad-Reza Djalali arrested on vague charges of espionage and collaboration with Israel in 2016 and sentenced to death in 2017.

Sweden arrested Nouri, now 61, upon his arrival in Sweden at Stockholm Airport in 2019 and in 2021put him on trial over the mass execution and torture of prisoners at Gohardasht Prison in July and August 1988.

Most of victims were linked to the opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) but there were also some with links to leftist and secular groups such as Fadaiyan Khalq Organization (FKO) and Tudeh Party as well as some Kurdish groups such as Komala and Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran.

On the eve of the court ruling on July 13, Iran repeated calls for his release, saying Nouri’s detention is driven by “false allegations” made by the Albania-based MEK.

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