Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Professor Ahmadreza Djalali Sentenced to Death in Iran

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Ahmadreza Djalali, a professor who was arrested for suspected espionage in Iran, has been sentenced to death, his wife, Vida Mehran-Nia, informed Radio Free Europe.

Djalali was arrested for “collaboration with hostile governments” and “acting against national security” while visiting Iran in April 2016 to participate in a series of workshops.

The 45-year-old professor taught at the European Master in Disaster Medicine (EMDM) in Italy—a joint Master's program by the Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Following his arrest, he spent more than seven months in solitary confinement without a proper trial or access to a lawyer. Djalali led a hunger strike in December 2016 to protest these conditions and seek justice despite suffering from kidney and heart pain.

According to the Belgium newspaper De Morgen, Djalali has been forced to sign a confession, for which he will receive the death penalty. The Iranian government is calling it a matter of national security.

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 without access to a lawyer, and subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores this verdict and calls upon 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 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.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide urges you to sign the petition and appeal to Iranian Government.