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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Iran’s decision to uphold academic’s death sentence shows ‘utter disregard for right to life’, Amnesty

Iran’s supreme court has upheld a death sentence against Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian academic with Swedish residency

Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born Swedish resident and specialist in emergency medicine, was sentenced to death by Iran in October after being convicted of espionage. Picture via Amnesty International
Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born Swedish resident and specialist in emergency medicine, was sentenced to death by Iran in October after being convicted of espionage. Picture via Amnesty International

Amnesty International has condemned Iran’s decision to uphold a death sentence against an Iranian academic with Swedish residency.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a doctor and lecturer at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, was convicted of espionage, accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists.

Mr Djalali, who was arrested in April 2016 and sentenced in October this year, denies the charges.

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Amnesty said the academic’s lawyers were told on Saturday that Iran’s Supreme Court had considered his case and upheld his sentence in a secret process, without allowing them to file defence submissions.

"This is not only a shocking assault on the right to a fair trial but is also in utter disregard for Ahmadreza Djalali’s right to life," Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

Mrs Djalali’s wife Vida Mehrannia said the court process had been unfair from the beginning.

"The judicial process was not fair and legal from the beginning. None of the court sessions was held in public and the interrogators imposed their decision on the judges," she told Reuters by telephone from Stockholm.

Iran hanged a man in 2012 convicted over the killings at least four scientists in what Tehran said was a programme of assassinations designed to sabotage its nuclear efforts. Tehran denied western and Israel’s claims that Iran was trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Mr Djalali was arrested while on a business trip to Iran and sent to Evin prison, where he said he was being held for refusing to spy for Iran. Amnesty said he had been held in soliary confinement for three months and tortured.

Sweden condemned Mr Djalali’s death sentence and said it had raised the case with Iranian officials in both Stockholm and Tehran.

While seventy-five Nobel prize laureates have petitioned Iranian authorities to release Mr Djalali so he could "continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind".