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UN Experts Call on Iran to Annul Death Sentence against Swedish Resident “Immediately”

Four independent experts working with the United Nations have called on Iran to “immediately” annul the death sentence against Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, an academic and doctor accused of espionage for Israel during the nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and world powers, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.

In a statement, the experts warned that “the procedure against him was marred by numerous reports of due process and fair trial violations.”

The U.N. expert on the human rights situation in Iran, alongside the experts on arbitrary detention, torture and summary executions, emphasized that Djalali had been held incommunicado, denied access to a lawyer, and forced to confess.

Djalali was arrested in April 2016 on espionage charges and was held in solitary confinement for several months. Iran has refused to grant Djalali—who is a resident of Sweden—access to Swedish consular services.

He was sentenced to death on October 21. Djalali had been found guilty by an Iranian court of sharing sensitive information about some 30 senior Iranian figures during meetings with officials from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. Djalali claims that he was targeted for refusing to spy for Iran while he was based in Europe.

“The execution of Dr. Djalali must be immediately halted and he must be released and accorded an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations,” the U.N. experts said. “No formal charges were brought against him for nearly 10 months and he was effectively prevented from exercising his right to challenge the legality of detention,” they added.

They also maintained that “Djalali’s rights to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal and to an effective defense have been violated.”

Earlier this month, Iranian state television broadcast what it claimed was the confession of Djalali. Amnesty International condemned the verdict, calling it “not only a shocking assault on the right to a fair trial but was also in utter disregard for Ahmadreza Djalali’s right to life.”

Reuters reported in November that since the nuclear deal two years ago, Iran has arrested over 30 dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen who was taken away from her toddler daughter and arrested as she prepared to leave Iran after visiting family in April 2016.

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