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Extremely Urgent: Iran Must Stop Imminent Execution of Swedish-Iranian Academic Ahmadreza Djalali

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

On November 24, 2020, Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) learned that Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish specialist in emergency medicine, was transferred to solitary confinement in Evin prison and informed by the prison authorities that his death sentence would be carried out imminently.

Ahmad Reza Jalali before his arrest and in Evin prison.

ESW calls on all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals to contact their respective embassies in Tehran, requesting them to intervene and save Ahmadreza Djalali’s life before it is too late.

In 2018, Iran’s Supreme Court had rejected a request to review his death sentence. 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 in Tehran on charges of “collaboration with a hostile government” while he was visiting his family. Djalali was later accused of providing information to Israel to help assassinate several senior nuclear scientists. These are charges that Djalali has publicly denied on numerous occasions.

In response to the news, the UN issued a statement today calling for an immediate halt to the execution of Ahmadreza Djalali.

UN experts call on Iran to halt execution of Ahmadreza Djalali

GENEVA (25 November 2020) – UN human rights experts said they were alarmed by reports that Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali has reportedly been transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution despite widely held findings that his trial was grossly unfair and that he was tortured.

“We are horrified by the reports that Dr. Djalali is soon to be executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. His torture, arbitrary detention, death sentence and now reported imminent execution are unconscionable acts that should be condemned by the international community in the strongest terms,” the experts said.

“We urge the Iranian authorities to take immediate action to reverse this decision before it is too late.”

Mr. Djalali is a medical doctor and academic who was sentenced to death on spurious espionage charges in October 2017. His conviction and sentence have stood despite credible evidence that his conviction was based on a forced confession extracted under torture and after a grossly unfair trial.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in a 2017 opinion that he was arbitrarily detained and called for his immediate release. During his detention, he has been repeatedly denied medical treatment, despite the strong likelihood that he has leukemia.

Grave concerns that Dr. Djalali is at imminent risk of execution come after he telephoned his wife on 24 November in what he said would be his last farewell. He reportedly informed her that he would soon be sent to solitary confinement in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, which is understood to be routine before the implementation of death sentences. Mr. Djalali’s lawyer also visited the prosecutor’s office at Evin Prison and saw the order to implement the death sentence. No effort has been made previously by the authorities to inform his lawyer or family of the order.

“The decision of the Iranian Government and judiciary to execute Mr. Djalali is completely reprehensible. On several counts, this would be a clear and serious violation of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law, especially the right to life. We urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to stop this execution immediately,” said the experts.

Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde has stated that she spoke to her Iranian counterpart after reports that Iran may soon enforce a death sentence on the Swedish-Iranian scientist, Ahmadreza Djalali. However, according to Al Jazeera, Iran has rejected an “interference” by Sweden after Stockholm called on Tehran not to execute Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali.

“The judicial power of the Islamic republic is independent—all interference in the issuance or carrying out of judicial decisions is rejected as unacceptable,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement late on Tuesday.

We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide and the undersigned 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 and the undersigned deplore this unjustified verdict 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 strongly protest and condemn this arbitrary sentence, to call for halting the imminent execution of Professor Djalali and to urge the officials of the Iranian government to end the tactic of taking foreign nationals and dual citizen scholars and students hostage for political gains and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.


Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Jomhouri Street


Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 644 11



President Hassan Rouhani

The Office of the President

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection


Islamic Republic of Iran

Javad Zarif

Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Minister’s Office

Imam Khomeini Square


Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 66743149



Todd C. Chapman

Ambassador of the United States to Brazil

Embassy of the United States to Brazil

Rua Henri Dunant

500 Chácara Santo Antônio

São Paulo- SP, 04709-110


Fax: +55 11 5181 8730

Koumbou Boly-Barry

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Irene Khan

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


Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Josep Borrell

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security


European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels


Marija Pejčinović Burić

Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

Christophe Poirel

Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99



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