Relatives of Iranian academic and university lecturer Ahmadreza Djalali said he was unfairly sentenced to death for alleged espionage a year after his arrest in Tehran.
Djalali’s wife Vida Mehrannia, who lives in Sweden with their two children, told Amnesty International that his physical and mental health have sharply deteriorated since he was detained.
She added: “We are calling for his release because he has not committed any crime.”
Djalali holds dual Iranian-Swedish nationalities.
A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman confirmed that she had received information from reliable sources confirming Djalali’s death sentence, but at the same time said she was gathering information on the case.
Iranian judicial authorities have not commented on reports circulated by Iranian websites about the death verdict.
Djalali was a lecturer at the Université Libre de Bruxelles when he was arrested by Iranian authorities on the sidelines a scientific conference he was attending in Iran.
Djalali had staged a hunger strike several times during the time of his detention, protesting the charges against him.
A Belgian source affiliated with the case noted that Djalali had been recently allowed by authorities two minutes to talk to his wife twice a week, but was unable to communicate with his lawyer.
Another lawyer was appointed and dismissed. The Belgian associate said that the hunger strike has serious implications for the health of the Iranian detainee.
Academics in Belgium and sympathizers with Djalali have written to European countries, which recently reached trade agreements with Iran, on how important it is to place pressure on the Iranian regime to respect international laws. They also demanded urgent medical assistance for the Iranian lecturer.
Zeynab Taheri, one of Djalali’s lawyers, told Amnesty International that he was sentenced to death and given a 200,000-euro fine.
“Ahmadreza Djalali was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial that once again exposes not only the Iranian authorities’ steadfast commitment to use of the death penalty but their utter contempt for the rule of law,” Amnesty International reported Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa as saying.