An Iranian court has sentenced two Swedish citizens to eight and five years imprisonment and lashes for drug trafficking.
During a weekly press conference on Tuesday, Judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi said the two, identified as Stephen Kevin Gilbert and Simon Kasper Brown, were arrested in January 2020 at an airport in Tehran as they were about to leave the country with large quantities of opium-based narcotics.
"Simon Kasper Brown was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of about 10 billion rials (about $34,000) for transporting more than 21,000 illegal pills of tramadol," an opioid painkiller, and "Stephen Kevin Gilbert was sentenced to eight years in prison, 60 lashes and a fine, for being in possession of 9.8 kilograms (21 pounds) of opium resin," he said.
The trial of the men — accused of being part of an “international drug trafficking gang” — opened in September 2021. Iran is a key smuggling route for opium and heroin from neighboring Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer.
The judiciary spokesman noted that the case of the pair is different from the Swedish man arrested in July on allegations of “espionage,” whose case is being investigated but his identity has not been revealed.
Tensions are relatively high between Tehran and Stockholm over a Swedish court’s sentencing of former Iranian jailor Hamid Nouri to life imprisonment over executions of political prisoners in 1988.
Earlier in the month, Sweden started planning for the prosecution of two Iranian-Swedish brothers who were arrested in 2021 over allegations of espionage for Iranian Intelligence organizations.