Recently, media have reported that there is an imminent risk that Iranian authorities will soon enforce a death sentence on Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali.
At a board meeting for the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) last Thursday, the board decided to adopt a statement addressed to the Iranian authorities urging them to grant pardon to Dr. Djalali. It is signed by the Chair Astrid Söderbergh Widding, the Vice-Chancellor of Stockholm University.
A great number of nobel laureates and several international bodies within the UN and the EU, as well as the international network, as well as Scholars at Risk, an international network aiming to protect vulnerable academics, have severely criticised the court proceedings in Dr. Djalali’s case. The trial has been called a legal outrage. He has been subjected to solitary confinement, torture and other violations of his fundamental human rights.
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Gävle Ylva Fältholm is a member of the SUHF and participated in the meeting last Thursday.
“We now plead with the Iranian regime to suspend the capital sentence issued against Ahmadreza Djalali and we ask that he should be released. Through the international network Scholars at Risk, we now attempt to build support for the human rights of Dr. Djalali and other vulnerable researchers,” Ylva Fältholm says.
Ahmadreza Djalali is a scholar in disaster medicine and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stocholm. In 2016, he visited his old home country to participate in a lecture series. He was arrested and later sentenced to death for espionage.
Earlier this year, University of Gävle joined Scholars at Risk, an international network of more than 500 higher education institutions in around 40 countries aiming to protect academic freedom and defend human rights for researchers all over the world
Scholars at Risk has drafted a petition and Swedish higher education institutions now join the call. through SUHF. The call addresses the political leadership in Iran and representatives in the UN and the EU, and it urges them to take steps to secure Dr Djalalis’ immediate release from prison.
The SUHF statement claims that the arrest and the convictions is a flagrant violation of international principles of academic freedom, legal certainty in legal proceeding and humane treatment of prisoners, guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified.
“This case makes it evident that Scholars at Risk is needed, and it gives us a chance to make our voice heard in defending a colleague who is in danger and to bring other cases from the world in which academic freedom is threatened to public attention,” Ylva Fältholm says.
Read more about the case at Scholars at Risk’s
Amnesty is calling on Iran’s authorities to immediately stop any plans to execute Swedish-Iranian academic Sign here
TEXT: Tommy Löfgren