Sweden urges Iran not to execute researcher convicted of spying for Israel

Ahmadreza Djalali faces death sentence for allegedly passing info to Mossad on nuclear scientists who were later assassinated

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

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said Tuesday she had spoken to her Iranian counterpart to formally object to the planned execution of an Iranian-Swedish professor sentenced to death on spying charges.

Linde, who announced the call on Twitter, said she had been in touch with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif following reports that Iran was preparing to carry out the execution of Ahmadreza Djalali, a specialist in emergency medicine.

“Sweden denounces the death penalty and is working to not have the sentence against Djalali carried out,” Linde wrote in a post on Twitter.

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.

A rally at the Iranian embassy in Brussels, in support of Ahmadreza Djalali, after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence handed to the Iranian-born Swedish resident and specialist in emergency medicine, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Belga/Virginie Lefour)

Djalali has claimed he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe.

His lawyers also claimed they were blocked from presenting submissions ahead of the Supreme Court hearing.

Djalali’s death sentence has been widely condemned by rights groups including Amnesty International and by UN rights experts.

The imprisoned academic’s wife told news agency TT on Tuesday that her husband had informed her that he was being moved to another prison where he would await his sentence in isolation, indicating an execution was imminent.

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