Iran will later this month execute a Swedish-Iranian national whom it has imprisoned since 2016 and convicted of spying for Israel, media reported.
Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency on Wednesday released a report in which Iranian officials stated that Tehran will implement the death penalty against Ahmad Reza Jalali by May 21.
Jalali, a researcher and physician who specializes in disaster relief, was arrested during a visit to Iran in April 2016. In 2017, Jalali was sentenced to death in Iran after he had been found guilty of passing information about two Iranian nuclear scientists to Israel to help it assassinate several nuclear scientists.
Rights groups have condemned Jalali’s detention, citing Iran’s pattern of detaining dual nationals and expatriates without due process.
Iran does not recognize dual nationals.
The announcement came as authorities in Stockholm wrapped up the trial of Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian prosecution official whom Swedish officials arrested in November 2019.
Authorities say Nouri played a role in the deaths of political prisoners executed on Iranian government orders at Iran’s Gohardasht prison during the final phase of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. Nouri has been held in custody in Sweden since his arrest.
On Wednesday, the final day of Nouri's trial, a Stockholm district court judge set the date of the verdict for July 14.
Amnesty International put the number of those executed at the prison at 5,000 but said in a 2018 report that the number could be higher.
Human Rights Watch, in a recent report, said, “Iran continues to be one of the world’s leading implementers of the death penalty.”
If Nouri is convicted, he will face a maximum life sentence on charges of international war crimes and human rights abuses. Iran recently summoned the Swedish envoy in protest over Nouri’s case.
Maja Aberg, senior policy adviser with Amnesty International Sweden, says it is no coincidence that Iran announced Jalali’s pending execution just after Swedish prosecutors moved on Nouri’s trial.
“It indicates that (Iran) sees him as a kind of piece in the jigsaw puzzle, which is very worrying,” Aberg told Sweden's TT news agency.
Swedish law allows for the prosecution of Swedish citizens and other nationals for crimes against international law committed abroad.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.