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Iran: Swedish citizen to be executed 'shortly' says UN

Rights groups warn that Ahmadreza Djalali could face death in retaliation for Swedish court upholding conviction of former Iranian official
Demonstrators hold posters with a portrait of Swedish-Iranian doctor and researcher Ahmadreza Djalali who is imprisoned and sentenced to death in Iran, during a protest claiming to free him, on 14 May 2022 in Stockholm, Sweden (Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency/AFP)

Iran is "shortly" set to execute a dual Swedish-Iranian citizen accused of spying, according to the UN, after a Swedish court upheld the conviction of a former Iranian official.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian disaster medicine researcher, was arrested in Iran on suspicion of espionage in 2016.

He was accused in 2017 of having transmitted information to the Mossad - the Israeli intelligence services - on two people in charge of the Iranian nuclear programme, which would have allowed their assassination between 2010 and 2012.

"Disturbing news that Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali could be shortly executed on charges of 'enmity against God'," the UN human rights office wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

There have been concerns that the decision by a Swedish appeals court to confirm the conviction of former Iranian prison official Hamid Noury this week could threaten the safety of Swedish prisoners in Iran.

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Noury stood accused of involvement in the mass execution of thousands of mainly left-wing prisoners in Iran in 1988, towards the end of the war with Iraq.

'The cruel toying with Djalali's life... heightens concerns that Iranian officials are holding him hostage'

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty

The 62-year-old was convicted last year of "grave breaches of international humanitarian law and murder" over his alleged role in a purge that saw at least 5,000 prisoners killed.

Amnesty International has warned that "mounting evidence indicates that Iranian authorities are threatening to carry out Ahmadreza Djalali's execution in retaliation for their unmet demands to pervert the course of justice in Sweden".

"The cruel toying with Ahmadreza Djalali's life immediately after a Swedish court of appeals upheld [Noury's] conviction and life sentence... heightens concerns that Iranian officials are holding Ahmadreza Djalali hostage to compel Sweden into a prisoner swap," said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.

Iran has denied that there is any link between Noury's conviction and the planned execution of any Swedish prisoners.

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