Iran postpones execution of Iranian-Swedish academic accused of spying for Israel

STOCKHOLM — The planned execution of Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who was sentenced to death in Iran three years ago for spying, has been postponed, his wife says.

Vida Mehran Nia tells AFP she has been informed by her husband’s lawyer that Iranian authorities had decided to delay the execution for “some days.”

According to information gathered by rights group Amnesty International, Djalali was scheduled to be moved on Tuesday afternoon to a prison in the Iranian city of Karaj where the execution was to be carried out, but his wife says he had not yet been transferred.

Mehran Nia tells AFP she believes the postponement is related to “political issues” in Iran, and even if it is a “good sign” she is unsure what it means for her husband’s chances.

“I don’t know honestly, but at least we have some hope,” says Mehran Nia, who lives in Sweden.

Djalali, formerly based in Stockholm where he worked at the Karolinska Institute, a medical university, was arrested during a visit to Iran in April 2016.

He was subsequently found guilty of passing information about two Iranian nuclear scientists to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency that led to their assassinations.

While imprisoned he was granted Swedish citizenship in February 2018, only months after his death sentence was confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Court.

Djalali has claimed he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe and his death sentence has been widely condemned by rights groups and by UN rights experts.


Ahmadreza Djalali, left, and his family. (Screen capture via YouTube/Amnesty International)

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