Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Iran will execute a Swedish-Iranian national found guilty of espionage later this month, while a former Iranian official is awaiting a verdict for war crimes charges at a trial in Sweden.
The Iranian semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday that Ahmadreza Djalali is to be executed by May 21, despite Sweden’s repeated protests over the death sentence for the dual national.
Djalali, who is a researcher and disaster medicine doctor, was arrested in Iran in 2016 during an academic visit, and subsequently charged with espionage. Djalali was found guilty by Iranian courts and sentenced to death.
International rights organisations claim that Iran has frequently arrested dual nationals in the country in recent years, mostly with the intention to use them as bargaining chips in diplomacy with their second, western countries. Tens of dual nationals were arrested in the past several years, with the most famous case being British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe.
The announced execution date comes as a former Iranian official, Hamid Noury, is awaiting the verdict in his trial in Stockholm. Noury, a former prosecutor, was arrested in Sweden in 2019 and charged with international war crimes and human rights abuses.
Noury was suspected of actively participating in mass killings of political prisoners in 1988 through his role as a prosecutor. According to Amnesty International, more than 5,000 people were executed on government orders at the Gohardasht prison in Karaj. If found guilty, Noury could be sentenced to life in prison.
The UN human rights investigator called for an independent inquiry last year into the government-ordered killings of prisoners in 1988, stressing that the current Iranian president, a hardline ultra-conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, served as Tehran’s deputy prosecutor at the time