Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders on Thursday told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that he hopes that the death sentence against Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali will not be executed. “Belgium is against death penalty and we plead that it should be repealed,” he told the press after a meeting at Egmont Palace with the Iranian foreign minister who was visiting Brussels to discuss Iran’s nuclear deal with EU.
Reynders said that Prime Minister Charles Michel has sent a letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.
Djalali, 45, is married with two children and works at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden on improving hospitals’ emergency responses to terrorism and different threats. He is a visiting professor at VUB in Brussels.
He was invited to lecture in his home country but was detained in Teheran in April 2016 and held at the notorious Evin prison in Teheran. He was accused of cooperation with hostile states and espionage for Israel but no evidence was ever presented to support the allegations.
He was sentenced to death on 21 October 2017. UN observers stated that the trial was unfair and have called on Iran to immediately cancel the death sentence and release Djalali.
However, his sentence was confirmed in early December by the Iranian Supreme Court despite a broad protest movement in Belgium and other countries.
Margot Wallström, Swedish minister of foreign affairs, says that Sweden like the rest of EU condemn death penalty in all its forms. “Death penalty is an unhuman, cruel and irreversible punishment which has no place in modern law.”
A spokesperson for the Swedish ministry of foreign affairs told The Brussels Times that it has repeatedly contacted Iranian representatives about Djalali and clarified Sweden’s condemnation of death penalty to them.