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Ahmadreza Djalali Languishing in Iranian Prison—124 Nobel Laureates Call for His Release

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

It has been over 30 months since Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish citizen and a scholar of disaster medicine was arrested in Iran. On October 19, 2018, Djalali underwent an operation in Tehran’s Taleghani Hospital on October 17. This operation took place after Djalali suffered a month of severe pain and the denial of medical treatment.

The 45-year-old professor, who taught at the European Master in Disaster Medicine (EMDM) in Italy—a joint master’s program of the Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel—was arrested in April 2016 on charges of “collaboration with a hostile government” while visiting his family in Tehran. Djalali was later accused of providing information to Israel to aid in the assassination of several senior nuclear scientists and, following a closed trial, was sentenced to death on October 20, 2017. The Iranian government has disclosed no evidentiary basis for these allegations, and Djalali has denied them, declaring that his ties to the international academic community are the real reasons for his incarcerations.

Recent reports and interviews with Djalali’s wife indicate that his health has been deteriorating in prison. He has, for example, lost over 25 kilograms (~55 pounds). Despite Djalali’s poor health, however, his medical furlough request has been denied repeatedly.

Last month, 124 Nobel Laureates sent a joint letter to the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei requesting him to intervene personally in this case and to assure Djalali receives a fair trial and subsequent exoneration and release.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide calls upon the Iranian government to end the practice of deliberately depriving political prisoners of medical care and to ensure that Djalai receives proper medical care. We condemn the ongoing detention, persecution, and conviction of Djalali in the strongest terms and ask all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest and condemn this arbitrary incarceration; to call for Djalali's immediate and unconditional release; and to urge the officials of the Iranian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties.

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