Iran Temporarily Halts Execution of Swedish-Iranian Academic Ahmadreza Djalali

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

On December 2, 2020, Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) learned that Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish specialist in emergency medicine, facing execution in Iran for espionage, has been granted a reprieve, according to his family and his lawyer.

As we have reported, Djalili was transferred to solitary confinement in Evin prison on November 24, 2020, and informed by the prison authorities that his death sentence would be carried out imminently. On November 24, 2020, Djalali’s wife, Vida Mehrannia, made media appeals, urging European governments to come to her husband’s aid.

UN human rights experts stated in 2017:

The procedure against him was marred by numerous reports of due process and fair trial violations, including incommunicado detention, denial of access to a lawyer, and forced confession. [Djalali was] reportedly threatened with torture and other forms of ill-treatment and threatened with being sentenced to death through an expedited process [and then] forced to repeat dictated statements before video cameras.

Djalali was sentenced to death in October 2017 and Iran’s supreme court reaffirmed the sentence that November 2017.

In the past few weeks, Belgian news media has reported that the threatened execution could be connected to the trial of an Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, who is accused of providing explosives to two individuals to bomb a rally of the opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (Mujahideen) near Paris on June 30, 2018. Iran may be seeking for a prisoner exchange as it has before. On November 24, 2020, Iran swapped Australian university lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert for three prisoners held abroad.

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 advocate for the release of Ahmadreza Djalili.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide calls upon the Iranian government to immediately and unconditionally release Djalali and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties.