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Brussels professor faces death penalty in Iran

The lawyer of Iranian-Swedish professor Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been sentenced to death in Teheran, has not appealed to the Iranian Supreme Court. His execution seems inevitable according to VUB in Brussels, where Djalali was a guest teacher in the field of disaster medicine.

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.

He was invited to lecture in his home country but was detained in Teheran in April 2016 and accused of cooperation with hostile states and espionage for Israel but no evidence was ever presented to support the allegations. He was held at the notorious Evin prison in Teheran and sentenced to death on 21 October 2017.

An appeal should have been filed within three weeks but it appears that it never reached the Supreme Court.

“The only explanation for this legal error is that Djalali’s so-called lawyer colluded with Judge Salavati of the Iranian Revolutionary Court, who sentenced him to death after physical and psychological torture, and without any fair or public trial “, says Professor Gerlant van Berlaer from VUB.

“I have never acted against my country, I have never spied for Israel or any other country,” says Djalali in a document related to him. “My only fault is that I did not accept to use the trust of my colleagues and universities in EU to spy for Iran’s intelligence services.”

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.

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.”

VUB calls on politicians, diplomats, scientists and other citizens to take a firm stand and protest against Djalali’s conviction. An event at the initiative of Amnesty International will take place Thursday at 18:00 in front of the Iranian Embassy in Brussels.

The Brussels Times