A Swedish-Iranian scientist sentenced to death in Iran for espionage could be executed as early as Wednesday, human rights groups and his wife have warned.
Ahmadreza Djalali was due to be taken from Evin prison to Rajai Shahr prison on Tuesday, a normal precursor to execution. Death sentences in Iran are often carried out on Wednesdays.
It would be one of the first executions of dual citizenship in Iran, and comes just a week after Iran’s release from Anglo-Australian University Kylie Moore-Gilbert in exchange for three Iranians accused of being part of a terrorist plot in Thailand.
The Iran Human Rights campaign group said: “Ahmadreza Djalali is in imminent risk of execution and only a strong and urgent response from the international community can save his life. ”
United Nations human rights rapporteur Agnés Callamard said: “The judge responsible for the arbitrary murder reportedly said the family would benefit from a last minute visit before his execution. Unreasonable. And illegal. Human lives are just pawns in international politics, tit for tat, no end in sight.
Djalali’s wife Vida Mehrannia told the Guardian: “I spoke to him a week ago and what he said would happen. He will be executed at some point tomorrow, unless someone intervenes, I’m not a political person, but all I can ask is that countries that have influence, maybe being Austria and the United States, will ask Iran to open its door and overturn its sentence. I hope the media will help me.
“I can’t tell my kids what’s been going on for the past four years or explain. How to explain this? ”
There has been no official Iranian reaction to the reports, but the Foreign Ministry rejected earlier suggestions that it could intervene in cases of jailed binationals.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said last week that she spoke with her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif after announcing that Iran may soon carry out Djalali’s death sentence.
Djalali, a doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of spying for Israel, after being accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several veteran nuclear scientists. His friends said he was forced to go to confession.
Last month, 153 Nobel laureates signed a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for Djalali’s release.
Iran says all legal proceedings have been exhausted. The country’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in 2017.
Human rights activists have accused Iran of arresting a number of binationals in an attempt to win concessions from other countries.
Djalali had traveled to Iran at the official invitation of the University of Tehran, but was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on April 24, 2016 and spent three months in the ministry’s detention center.
According to reports, Iran was hoping to exchange its reprieve for the release of Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, on trial in Belgium for having participated in a plot to detonate a bomb at a rally of Iranian opposition figures in 2018. refusing to appear at trial, citing diplomatic immunity.