Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Jalali

Iranian Death Row Scientist Reproaches Swedish PM Over Prisoner Swap

Wednesday, 06/19/2024

Ahmadreza Jalali, an Iranian-Swedish scientist currently sentenced to death in Iran, has reproached the Swedish Prime Minister for abandoning him in the recent prisoner exchange with Tehran.

In the voice message from Iran’s notorious Evin prison shared with Iran International, Jalali condemned Ulf Kristersson for deserting him while he faces the imminent threat of execution. "You left me here, helpless. Why not me?" Jalali can be heard saying in the recording.

As part of a prisoner exchange agreement on Saturday, Sweden repatriated a former Iranian official convicted of war crimes in exchange for the release of two Swedish citizens, Johan Floderus and Saeed Azizi, who had been detained in Iran under allegations of 'spying for Israel'.

Jalali described the Swedish government’s decision to exclude him from this deal as "discriminatory" and challenged the Swedish PM to meet his son and family publicly and explain why he was left behind and what would be done for them in the event of his execution.

The release of Hamid Nouri, alongside leaving Jalali behind, has ignited widespread backlash and public protests. Following the news on Saturday, Iranians in Sweden, including Jalali's wife Vida Mehrannia, gathered outside the foreign ministry in Stockholm to express their indignation.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International criticized the Swedish government, urging them to "act swiftly to protect Ahmadreza Jalali’s rights, including his right to life." Jalali was sentenced to death in October 2017 on charges of “corruption on earth” after a trial before Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, which was marred by reliance on torture-tainted confessions.

Amnesty International also condemned the release of Hamid Nouri, describing it as a “stunning blow to survivors and relatives of victims” of the 1988 prison massacre in Iran, Nouri sentenced to life imprisonment by a Swedish court in 2022 for crimes against humanity related to his involvement in the mass executions of prisoners in the 1980s in Iran.

His arrest in Sweden was in accordance with the principle of universal justice, and his trial and subsequent conviction were considered significant steps for international justice. However, his release has been widely condemned.

Political activist Lawdan Bazargan criticized the Swedish government's actions as "dangerous" with "far-reaching consequences", reinforcing Iran's policy of diplomatic hostage taking which has seen unknown numbers of dual nationals imprisoned in Iran.

Last year, five American-Iranians were released in return for the freeing up of $6 billion of frozen Iranian funds in Iran, which was also slammed by rights organizations for supporting Iran's blatant hostage taking agenda.

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