Another Abducted Dissident Sentenced to Death in Iran
Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence Against Habib Farajollah Chaab After Show Trial
Three Foreign Dissidents Have Been Abducted and Sentenced to Death in Iran Since 2019
March 13, 2022 – An Iranian-born Swedish citizen and dissident, Habib Farajollah Chaab, who was reportedly lured to Turkey by Islamic Republic agents and then forcibly taken to Iran in 2020, is at risk of being executed after the Iranian Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.
“Chaab was a hostage from the moment he was abducted and taken to Iran against his will,” said Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Governments around the world must publicly and forcefully support Chaab and the numerous other imprisoned dual and foreign nationals in Iran by imposing onerous political and economic consequences on the Islamic Republic for its ongoing hostage-taking,” Ghaemi said.
“This is nothing less than blatant attempts at extortion by the Islamic Republic and the international community should address this in a coordinated and forceful manner,” he added.
The Iranian government refused to allow the Swedish government to visit Chaab or be present at his trial, where Chaab was denied a lawyer of his choice and a fair trial in which he was allowed to prepare a complete defense.
Chaab, an ethnic Arab, was accused of being the founder and former leader of a separatist group called the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), as well as carrying out terrorist operations in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan Province.
He was sentenced to death under the charge of “corruption on earth,” a capital offense that Iranian courts usually hand out to dissidents who criticize state policies.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has a documented history of issuing politically motivated sentences against ethnic minorities in trials sorely lacking in internationally recognized standards of due process.
Khuzestan province, where Chaab was born, holds approximately 80 percent of Iran’s onshore oil reserves yet remains economically underdeveloped due to the Iranian government’s discrimination against the province’s large ethnic Arab minority.
Ethnic Arabs, Kurds, and Baluchis have also been historically executed in higher numbers than Persians in Iran.
The confirmation of Chaab’s death sentence occurred against the backdrop of a Swedish court’s life sentence against Hamid Noury, a former Iranian official, for his involvement in the mass executions of prisoners in Iran in 1988.
Another Swedish citizen, medical scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, has been unjustly imprisoned in Iran with a death sentence hanging over his head since 2017 (he was first arrested in April 2016 and has been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison since that time).
Multiple Abductions of Iranian Dissidents Abroad by Islamic Republic Agents
Chaab is one of three Iranian dissidents who have been abducted by Iranian agents and brought back to Iran since 2019.
France-based dissident Ruhollah Zam was abducted in Iraq in 2019 and executed in Iran in December 2020 after a sham trial.
Iranian-born German citizen and political dissident Jamshid Sharmahd, who is also a U.S. resident, was kidnapped by agents of the Islamic Republic in 2020 while he was passing through Dubai, according to his family.
The Islamic Republic accused him of being the leader of Tondar, the militant wing of the opposition group known as the Kingdom Assembly of Iran and sentenced him to death in February 2023 after another show trial. He remains in prison at the time of this writing.
“This was yet another kidnapping, show trial and death sentence, aimed at forcing another country, in this case Sweden, to do what the Iranian government wants,” said Ghaemi.
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