The sister of Johan Floderus, the Swedish EU diplomat detained in Iran, has condemned his captivity as a manipulative act within a larger “political game.”
Floderus, 33, was detained by Iranian authorities in April 2022 at Tehran airport following a visit to a friend working at the Swedish embassy. Since then, he has been subjected to distressing conditions in Evin prison.
At the time of his arrest, Floderus was employed on the Afghanistan desk of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic arm of the European Union.
Reports emerged last Sunday indicating that the Iranian prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for Floderus on charges of espionage for Israel and "corruption on earth," a capital offense under Tehran's Islamic laws.
Floderus becomes the latest victim of what many term “hostage diplomacy”, where Western citizens are arbitrarily detained by the Iranian regime on unfounded espionage charges. While previous detainees have been released following concessions by Western governments, the prosecutor's push for the death penalty has stunned Floderus' family.
Speaking to Euronews at a #FreeJohanFloderus campaign event in Brussels, his sister Ingrid Floderus emphasized his innocence, stating, "He is an innocent man. I don't think that anyone really feels like my brother has done those crimes that he has been accused of."
She added, "This is about some big political game where my brother is being used as a pawn, and that is really, for me, something I cannot accept."
Floderus, an alumnus of Oxford University, is believed to be caught in a web of political pressure aimed at the Swedish government. Observers suggest his detention could be linked to Tehran's efforts to coerce the release of Hamid Nouri, a former judicial official of the Islamic Republic, sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1980s political prisoner massacre, which saw the execution of up to 5,000 individuals.