A Swedish academic has been sentenced to death in Iran after being accused of spying for Israel, human rights observers have said.
Ahmadreza Djalali, a father-of-two who was born in Iran but has resident status in Sweden, was arrested in his home country in April 2016.
He was accused of handing a list of 30 nuclear and military scientists to the Israelis, before two scientists on the list were killed in explosions in 2010.
Ahmadreza Djalali, a father-of-two who was born in Iran but has resident status in Sweden, has been sentenced to death in his home country after being found guilty of spying for Israel
Iranian authorities confirmed to the BBC that a man had been convicted of passing information to Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, in return for money and help getting a Swedish via.
While authorities did not name Djalali, human rights group Amnesty confirmed the sentence through one of the academic lawyers.
The group said the sentence comes after ‘psychological torture, false confessions and a grossly unfair trial.’
Philip Luther, the group’s research and advocacy director for the Middle East/North Africa region, said: ‘No evidence has ever been presented to show that he is anything other than an academic peacefully pursuing his profession.
‘If he has been convicted and sentenced for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, including through his academic work, the authorities must immediately and unconditionally release him and drop all charges against him.’
Wife Vida Mehrannia (left) said her husband has never been involved in spying and that his conviction comes after psychological torture and a sham trial
Amnesty said Mr Djalali, a doctor and lecturer at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, was on a business trip to Iran in April 2016 when he was arrested.
He was then held without access to a lawyer for seven months, Amnesty said, three of which were in solitary confinement.
Mr Djalali says that while in solitary confinement he was twice forced to make taped ‘confessions’ which involved reading out statements written by his interrogators.
He says he was put under intense pressure, through psychological torture and threats to execute him and arrest his children, to ‘confess’ to being a spy.
Mr Djalali says the accusations were fabricated by Iran’s intelligence ministry.
His wife Vida Mehrannia, who lives in Sweden with their two children, told Amnesty that his physical and mental health had deteriorated sharply since he was detained.
‘We are calling for his release because he has not committed any crime,’ she said.