The Iranian judiciary has confirmed its intention to execute the Swedish-Iranian doctor Ahmad Reza Jalali, saying the death sentence issued against him is "final".
Earlier this month ISNA News Agency quoted an "informed official" as having said Dr. Jalali would be executed before May 21. On Tuesday, judiciary spokesman Zabihullah Khodaian confirmed: "This person has been sentenced to death on several charges, and his sentence is final. This sentence is on the agenda of the authorities and they will carry it out."
Dr. Jalali, a disaster medicine expert and university lecturer, was arrested by order of the IRGC while on an academic visit in 2016. After he refused to spy for Iran, he was tortured into giving a false confession to "espionage" that later aired on Iranian state TV. Observers are convinced that like other dual nationals before him, Jalali is being held a hostage.
Khodaian appeared to confirm those suspicions on Tuesday. In the same statement, the judiciary spokesman raised the specter of Hamid Nouri, an Iranian ex-prison official who has been prosecuted in Sweden for his alleged part in Iran's 1988 prison massacre. A verdict on the case is due imminently and Tehran appears to be agitating for a prisoner swap.
"Unfortunately the Swedish proceedings did not meet international and domestic standards," Khodaian claimed. "I advise the Swedish judiciary to do its job and not be politically motivated. Iran, like any other country, defends its citizens."
The day before, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh had publicly denied any connection between the Hamid Nouri trial and the execution of Ahmad Reza Jalali. But he added: "If there is a connection, it is the Swedish side that wants to establish a connection."
The Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI) has designated Saturday, May 14 an international day of protest to highlight Dr. Jalali's plight, saying it would turn the case against him into "a scandal for the Iranian regime".
"Like other jailed dual nationals, Mr. Jalali has been held in prison to be used by the Islamic regime as a hostage and a bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU and the US," spokeswoman Shiva Mahbobi said.
"I urge the Swedish Foreign Minister, Ann Linde, to take urgent and effective action using any opportunities and measures to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmad Reza Jalali."