Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who is held in Tehran since April 2016, and who is a prominent researcher in the field of disaster medicine, appealed last month against the death sentence received on 21 October 2017, after 19 months of imprisonment.
The facts suggest that Dr. Djalali has been sentenced to death for peacefully exercising his right to academic freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly.
Together with the rectors in Piemonte and Brussels, and the Swedish Foreign Ministry, I am following the case closely. Our thoughts are with Dr. Djalali and his family.
Letter of deep concern
In late October, the rector of the University of Piemonte Orientale, the rector of Vrije University in Brussels and I sent a joint letter of deep concern to Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Head of the Judiciary in Iran, over the detention of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali.
We are calling for Djalali’s immediate release and speedy return to his family and employment unless he is charged with a recognizable and evidence-based criminal offence, in line with international law and standards.
Dr. Djalali, an Iranian national and resident of Sweden, was arrested without a warrant by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence while traveling to Iran to attend workshops in disaster medicine at universities in Tehran and Shiraz. He has now been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison for approximately 19 months.
The death penalty an act of violence
A physician and expert in disaster medicine, Dr. Djalali is a highly respected scientist who is well known and admired within the international community for his high quality research and teaching.
He has worked alongside researchers from all over the world to improve the operational capacity of hospitals in countries affected by disasters, terrorism and armed conflicts. One of his aims has been to increase understanding and build relationships between the country where he lived and his work with other countries in the region in order to foster excellence in emergency and disaster medicine and research related to humanitarian assistance.
All citizens are entitled to due process and a fair trial, and no citizen should be subjected to the death penalty. The death penalty is an act of violence that creates more violence and is in conflict with human dignity, human rights, a wealth of research, and all the values our universities stand for.