An international organization promoting scientific freedom and human rights has appealed to Iran’s top medical institute to take action in the case of Ahmad Reza Jalali, a scientist who has been sentenced to death on charges of espionage.
The global group the Committee of Concerned Scientists has written to Professor Seyed Alireza Marandi, the president of the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences, urging him to “take all possible steps” to support Jalali and help overturn his conviction and sentence.
A revolutionary court judge sentenced Ahmad Reza Jalali without a trial on charges of spying for Israel’s Mossad. Tehran’s prosecutor publicly announced the sentence for a “Mossad agent” on October 24, though stopped short of naming Jalali. However, the details he did provide leave no doubt that he was referring to Jalali, and Jalali’s lawyer confirmed that his client had been issued with a death sentence. The prosecutor said the "agent" had been found guilty of conspiring with Israel to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists.
Jalali is an Iranian citizen with permanent residency in Sweden. A physician and researcher specializing in medicine for disaster relief, he was arrested after being invited to the country by Tehran University.
The Committee’s letter is below.
Dear Dr. Marandi:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We are writing you again to express in the strongest possible terms our concern for Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been sentenced to death in Iran after a grossly unfair trial. We urge you to take all possible steps to support Dr. Djalali and to work to overturn his conviction and death sentence. We also ask that you request your members to exert any influence they may have in assisting in this horrific case.
Professor Djalali, a citizen of Sweden born in Iran, is a medical doctor and lecturer at Stockholm Medical University - the Karolinska Institute. He obtained a Master’s degree in Disaster Medicine, a program jointly organized by the Università̀ del Piemonte Orientale (Italy) and the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels (Belgium), and recently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the CRIMEDIM. Dr. Djalali was in Iran teaching a class on Disaster Medicine for a Master’s Degree program at the invitation of the University of Tehran. He has been there numerous times in the past, working for state organizations, such as the Red Crescent, with never an issue.
He was convicted in a revolutionary court, overseen by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, on espionage charges, specifically spying on Iran for Israel, which Dr. Djalali adamantly denied. He was sentenced to death on October 21, and he has 20 days to appeal. Following his arrest in Tehran in April 2016, he was held in solitary confinement, subjected to abuse, denied access to a lawyer of his choice, and forced to sign a confession.
We are unaware of any evidence supporting the accusations against him. It is very unclear to us why he has been targeted in this manner, and we are extremely disturbed that Dr. Djalali is at such grave risk of execution.
Please do whatever you can to prevent such a profound injustice that not only threatens the life of a respected scientist and medical doctor but also tarnishes the image of Iran in the eyes of international community, health professionals in particular.
We thank you for your attention to this most serious matter.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists