Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian scientist under arrest in Iran on espionage charges since 2016, is facing imminent execution, his wife warned on Tuesday.
Swedish media cited Vida Mehrannia as saying Djalili had told her in a short phone call Tuesday morning that he is going to be executed soon.
Mehrannia added her husband told her authorities plan to transfer him from Tehran’s Evin prison to Rajaei-Shahr prison in the city of Karaj “in the next few days” to enforce the death sentence on him.
Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was arrested on espionage charges in April 2016 while visiting Iran to attend a scientific conference. He was sentenced to death the following year.
In December 2017, Iran’s state television aired Djalali’s alleged confessions to working with the Israeli Mossad.
Djalali and his family deny the charges and have said the 49-year-old scientist was pressured into making false confessions.
Following the reports, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde tweeted that she had spoken to her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif about Djalali.
“Sweden condemns the death penalty and works to ensure that the verdict against Djalali is not enforced,” Linde wrote on Twitter.
In the light of information that Iran may have planned to carry out the death penalty against the Swedish citizen Djalali, @AnnLinde spoke today with Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif. 🇸🇪 condemns the death penalty and works to ensure that the verdict against Djalali is not enforced. https://t.co/ifiNYJ0Ppy— Annika Ben David (@annikabendavid) November 24, 2020
In response, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said: “Unfortunately, the Swedish authorities’ information on the situation of Mr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who is in prison due to security crimes, is incomplete and incorrect.”
“As Foreign Minister Zarif explained to Ms. Linde, Iran’s judiciary is independent and any meddling in the issuance or execution of judicial rulings is unacceptable,” state media quoted Khatibzadeh as saying late on Tuesday.
A number of dual and foreign nationals are currently under arrest in Iran besides Djalali.
Critics of the Iranian regime accuse Tehran of arresting foreign nationals on trumped-up charges and using them as hostages to try to win concessions from other countries.