BRUSSELS —-Iran’s Supreme Court has confirmed that it is upholding the death sentence against an Iranian-Swedish academic who has been convicted of espionage for Israel.
Ahmadreza Djalali, a physician and researcher in disaster relief at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, was arrested in April 2016 during a visit to a conference in Tehran for espionage and ‘enmity with God’ — a crime which in Iran can result in the death penalty. He was later convicted.
Djalali was a visiting professor at Belgium’s Vrije University (VUB) when he was arrested during a trip to Iran in April 2016.
Djalali has claimed he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe.
Amnesty International and Djalali’s wife said earlier this month that his lawyers were told that the Supreme Court had considered his case and upheld his death sentence.
On December 25, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said the Supreme Court recently upheld the death sentence against Djalali, according to Mizan, the news site of Iran’s judiciary.
The verdict stated that Djalali worked with the Israeli government.
Mizan reported that Dolatabadi said Djalali had confessed to meeting Mossad agents repeatedly to deliver information on Iran’s nuclear and defense plans and personnel, and helping to infect Defense Ministry computer systems with viruses, Mizan reported.
In a broadcast on state-controlled television on December 17, Djalali admitted to supplying information to a foreign intelligence service about Iranian nuclear scientists who were later assassinated.
But in an audio recording, Djalali later said he made the confession under psychological pressure. He had previously denied the charges.
International rights groups have condemned Djalali’s arrest, saying it follows a pattern of Iran detaining dual nationals and expatriates without due process.
Sweden condemned the death sentence in October and said it had raised the matter with Iranian envoys.
Seventy-five Nobel prize laureates petitioned Iranian authorities last month to release Djalali so he could “continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind.”
Djalali, 46, has Iranian citizenship but is a permanent resident of Sweden.