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URGENT: Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Professor Ahmadreza Djalali Sentenced to Death

October 23, 2017

A judge in Tehran has ordered the death penalty for Iranian disaster-medicine researcher Ahmadreza Djalali, according to his wife Vida Mehrannia and diplomatic sources in Italy.

 

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 while visiting his family in Tehran in April 2016 on charges of “collaboration with a hostile government.” 

 

Djalali works on improving hospitals’ emergency responses to armed terrorism and radiological, chemical, and biological threats. Following a trial led by Abolqasem Salavati, a judge in Iran's revolutionary court, on October 21, Djalali was convicted of espionage and sentenced to death.

 

Djalali has 20 days to appeal against the sentence. His wife says that her husband was accused of obtaining money, academic positions, and research projects in exchange for spying on Iran for Israel. Mehrannia says that Djalali is considering a hunger strike to protest at the sentence, as Djalali has carried out multiple hunger and thirst strikes throughout his imprisonment.

 

Djalali has also been forced to change his lawyer against his will, according to the Committee of Concerned Scientists. Several scholars and human-rights organizations including Endangered Scholars Worldwide have called for a fair trial or release for the academic.

 

We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide consider this arbitrary sentence a flagrant and unjust violation of the freedom, security, and safety of an academic who is clearly a victim of a political witch hunt—arrested without cause, held for months in solitary confinement and without access to a lawyer, and subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse. Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores the unjustified verdict in the strongest terms and call upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to strongly protest and condemn this arbitrary sentence; 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.  
 

Please send appeals to the following:

 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Jomhouri Street

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 644 11

Website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/www.Khamenei.ir

 

Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)

Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

 

President Hassan Rouhani

The Office of the President

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

 

Javad Zarif,

Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Minister’s Office

Imam Khomeini Square

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 66743149

Website: http://www.mfa.gov.ir

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jzarif

 

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

Kishore Singh

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Email: sreducation@ohchr.org

 

David Kaye

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10

Switzerland

Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Email: freedex@ohchr.org

 

Federica Mogherini

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels

Belgium

 

Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

 

Philippe Boillat

Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

 

 

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