Swedish-Iranian doctor claims Sweden left him behind in recent prisoner swap

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A Swedish-Iranian dual national has accused Sweden’s prime minister of leaving him out of a prisoner swap in a call from the Iranian jail where he remains incarcerated, daily Expressen reported on Tuesday.

The two countries carried out a prisoner exchange on Saturday, with Sweden freeing a former Iranian official convicted for his role in a mass execution in the 1980s while Iran released two Swedes being held there.

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Ahmadreza Djalali, an emergency medicine doctor, remains in Tehran’s Evin prison after he was arrested in 2016 while on an academic visit to Iran.

Djalali was sentenced to death in 2022 on charges of spying for Israel, and Iran’s judiciary in the same year ruled out a prisoner swap for him.

“You chose to leave me behind, with a high risk of being executed,” Djalali said in a telephone conversation with his wife Vida Mehrannia, who recorded it and shared it with the newspaper. His comments were addressed to Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

“I am speaking to you from Evin prison. It’s a terrible cave, where I’ve spent eight years and two months, almost 3,000 days of my life,” Expressen quoted him as saying.

“I’m very happy that the other two were released. One Iranian-Swedish, the other Swedish. But it is clearly a case of discrimination,” he added.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday that Iran had refused to even consider Djalali a Swedish citizen after he received citizenship in the Nordic country, where he lived and worked prior to his arrest, while in Iranian prison.

Billstrom said in an emailed comment to Reuters on Tuesday that Sweden had not given up on Djalali and would continue efforts to have him freed.

“The government and the security services did everything possible to ensure that Djalali would come home together with Floderus and Azizi,” Billstrom said, adding that he was due to have a previously scheduled meeting with Djalali’s wife.

“As the prime minister has said, he has a great understanding of the despair Djalali and his family feel. They have our deepest sympathy ... For the sake of Djalali’s own safety, we cannot say more than what we have already said.”

Read more:

Sweden and Iran exchange prisoners in breakthrough deal, officials say

UN says Swedish citizen faces imminent execution in Iran

Freed Swedish EU diplomat Johan Floderus ‘in seventh heaven’ after Iran prisoner swap

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