EU raises case of VUB professor sentenced to death by Iran
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EU raises case of VUB professor sentenced to death by Iran

Academic institutions in Belgium are calling on researchers, diplomats, politicians and citizens to protest against Iran for sentencing Iranian-Swedish professor Ahmadreza Djalali to death for alleged espionage. Djalali is a guest teacher at VUB, Brussels, in the field of disaster medicine. A protest demonstration will take place Thursday (14 December) at 18:00 in front of the Iranian embassy in Brussels.

“They don’t have any evidence. My husband is innocent. We need more help from the Swedish government, EU and the academic world, from all who can help us,” says his desperate wife.

An EU spokesperson told The Brussels Times that EU is aware of Djalali´s case and has raised it, again recently, with the Iranian authorities. “We are closely following his situation.”

According to the spokesperson human rights remain a central feature of EU´s engagement with Iran, most recently last November in Tehran.

In her speech Wednesday at the European Parliament on the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), signed in 2015, EU´s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also commented on the human rights dialogue with Iran.

“We still have substantive disagreements, but together with Iran we have agreed to focus on tangible results. We are the ones raising individual cases and we do it even today in Vienna – issues were raised on individual cases.”

Globally, according to Amnesty International, most executions in 2016 took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan, in that order. The total number of executions in Iran has decreased but was still several hundred in 2016.

Maria Novak
The Brussels Times