Updated: Apr 26, 2019
On December 20, 2017, four UN human rights experts called on Iran to “immediately” annul the death sentence against Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish academic who has been convicted of spying for Israel during nuclear talks with world powers.
Djalali, who taught at the European Masters in Disaster Medicine (EMDM) in Italy, was arrested on charges of “collaboration with a hostile government” while visiting his family in Tehran in April 2016. He was then accused of providing information to Israel to aid in the assassination of several senior nuclear scientists and, following a closed trial on October 20, 2017, was sentenced to death.
Djalali himself has repeatedly said that he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe.
The four independent experts working with the United Nations warned in their statement that “the procedure against him was marred by numerous reports of due process and fair trial violations.”
“The execution of Dr. Djalali must be immediately halted, and he must be released and accorded an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations,” the experts concluded. “Djalali’s rights to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal and to an effective defense have been violated.”
The UN experts voiced particular concern over a video prepared by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry that aired on December 17, 2017. In the video a narrator speaks over images of a purported "interview" with Djalali that is crosscut with archive footage, accusing him of being a "traitor" and of having been recruited by Mossad.
According to the UN experts, “The timing of the video release, as well the allegations of coercion beg serious questions about its legitimacy."
A day after the video broadcasting, Djalali denied the allegations in an audio recording from prison. He said that the authorities forced him into the confession by promising to release him and by putting him under psychological pressure. End