Swedish-Iranian Scientist on Death Row Unexpectedly Moved to Undisclosed Location
Imprisoned Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali was transferred from Evin Prison’s Ward 7 to an undisclosed location on July 29, 2019, his wife, Vida Mehrannia, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 2.
“Ahmadreza contacted his family on Tuesday morning [July 30] and in a two-minute conversation said he had been moved to an unknown place inside a solitary cell with cameras,” she said. “He didn’t know anything about why he was moved.”
The emergency medicine scientist and physician had visited Iran in April 2016 on invite by the University of Tehran and was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry and sentenced to death in October 2017 under espionage charges that he has repeatedly rejected.
In a letter from prison, Djalali wrote that he is being punished for refusing to spy for the ministry and was forced to make a false confession under the threat of torture that was later broadcast on state TV. His death sentence is under review.
The state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has a long history of broadcasting such forced confessions. Typically well-staged productions, they are used to defame dissidents, intellectuals, and other individuals whom the authorities wish to discredit, legitimize their prosecution, and amass public support for their sentences.
“There had been some talk that the sentence against Ahmadreza was excessive and needed to be revised,” Djalali’s wife told CHRI. “We were expecting good news and last week he had been transferred to a hospital to get a blood test to treat his illnesses. So we don’t know why he was suddenly moved… I appeal to [Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi] to look into this matter.”
“I spoke to his lawyer over the about what happened and now he’s going to go the courthouse in Evin Prison to see what’s going on,” Mehrannia said.
“His move was very unexpected, both for him and for us,” she added. “The lawyer has submitted a request for Ahmadreza’s case to be reviewed but the judiciary has not given a response yet and we don’t know why he has been moved to solitary confinement.”
In December 2018, 121 Nobel Laureates called on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to ensure that Djalali receives the “best possible medical care and allowed to “return home to his wife and children and continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind.”