Iran plans execution of Iranian-Swedish researcher by May 21

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Iran is planning to execute an Iranian-Swedish researcher imprisoned since 2016, Iranian media reported Wednesday, as major court cases further strain tense relations between the two countries.

The report by the semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted informed Iranian officials as saying that Iran will implement the death penalty against Ahmad Reza Jalali by May 21 at the latest.

Jalali is a Swedish-Iranian physician who specializes in disaster relief and has taught at European universities. Rights groups have condemned his detention, saying it follows a pattern of Iran detaining dual nationals and expatriates indefinitely without due process.

He was sentenced to death on widely condemned espionage charges in 2017, as Iranian state TV aired what appeared to be a forced confession with Jalali saying he relayed information to foreign intelligence services about Iranian nuclear scientists.

The announcement of his imminent execution came after Iran summoned its Swedish envoy over a landmark trial in Sweden of an Iranian national charged with grave war crimes committed during the final phase of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Swedish prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for Hamid Nouri, who has been held in custody in Sweden since his arrest in Stockholm in November 2019. The Stockholm District Court on Wednesday said that a verdict was expected July 14 and that Nouri will ”remain in custody until the verdict is announced or otherwise is decided.”

On Twitter, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote that the reports that Iran may carry out the death penalty were “very worrying,” and Sweden and the European Union “condemn the death penalty and demand the release of Djalali.”

“We have said this several times to representatives of Iran,” she wrote, adding Sweden was in contact with Tehran.

Maja Åberg of Amnesty International Sweden said Iran’s announcement of Jalali’s execution date just after Swedish prosecutors moved on Nouri’s case was not a coincidence.

“It indicates that (Iran) sees him as a kind of piece in the jigsaw puzzle, which is very worrying,” she told Sweden’s TT news agency.

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