Sweden Confirms Citizenship For Iranian Scientist Facing Death Penalty

The Swedish Foreign Ministry On February 17 confirmed that it has granted citizenship to a Stockholm-based scientist who is being held in Iran and faces a death sentence.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and later convicted on charges of espionage.

He was accused by Iranian authorities of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iran's Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in December.

Tehran’s prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi says Djalali confessed to meeting agents of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, to deliver information on Iran's nuclear and defense plans and personnel.

A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on February 17 confirmed that Djalali was granted Swedish citizenship by the country’s Migration Board.

The spokeswoman said Sweden is continuing consular work for Djalali and has requested that Iran allow “consular access to our citizen."

The spokeswoman also said Swedish diplomats have expressed Sweden's view about the death penalty to Iranian representatives, condemning it in all its forms.

“Our demand is that the death penalty is not carried out," the spokeswoman said.

Djalali had been on a business trip to Iran when he was arrested and sent to Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

The rights groups Amnesty International says Djalali was held in solitary confinement for three months and tortured after his arrest.

Amnesty International also said Djalali wrote a letter from inside prison in August stating he was being held because he refused to spy for Iran.

Seventy-five Nobel prize laureates in 2016 petitioned Iranian authorities to release Djalali so he can "continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind.”

With reporting by Reuters and AFP