An Iranian-Swedish professor connected to the Free University of Brussels (VUB) has been sentenced to death in Iran for collaboration with scientists from foreign, “enemy” states and his lawyer has not appealed to the Iranian Supreme Court.
The execution of Ahmadreza Djalali seems inevitable according to VUB in Brussels, where Djalali was a guest professor in the field of disaster medicine.
Iranian authorities detained Ahmadreza Jalali, a scientist at the Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine (CRIMEDIN) run by the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy, and the Free University Brussels (VUB), during a visit in April.
Djalali, 45, is married with two children and works at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden on improving hospitals’ emergency responses to armed terrorism and radiological, chemical and biological threats.
The verdict follows warnings by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the regime’s heavily militarised ideological gatekeepers, of “infiltration” attempts by Iran’s enemies.
It also comes with conservative opponents in Iran of a possible thaw with the West seemingly eager to project strength to their critics at home and abroad.
Jalali had traveled to Iran to attend a scientific workshop based on an official invitation from an Iranian university. He has been refusing to eat since December 26 to protest his arrest and the charges, and he seems to be in poor mental and physical condition.
An appeal should have been filed within three weeks but it appears that it never reached the Supreme Court. Since his conviction, 268,000 people have signed petitions in his defense. Despite the pressure on scientific and diplomatic level by Belgian, Swedish and Italian politicians, as well as by the head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini, Iran continues to violate the rights of the professor, the university underlines.
Rights advocates have long accused Iranian courts of issuing politically motivated sentences. Trial proceedings, often held behind closed doors, can last only a few minutes, and charges and even verdicts are routinely left to public speculation rather than informing defence teams or family of pending charges.
Djalali told his sister that he had 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.