More than 2,5 years have now elapsed since Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali – a KI alumnus and Swedish citizen – was arrested in Iran, accused of spying. In October 2017, after a closed trial, he was sentenced to death. The case has raised concerns all over the world and numerous protests have been launched against the obvious unfair trial and false accusations.
I have posted several posts on this case during my term as President of Karolinska Institutet. My first blog post was published at the time Dr. Djalali got his verdict by the Iranian court.
Another powerful call
Now, yet another powerful call for justice and for the right to academic freedom has been made. In a joint open letter, 121 Nobel laureates addressed the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:
“In November 2017, and again in February 2018 I wrote on behalf of a consortium of Nobel Laureates about the plight of a medical scholar, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who was arrested on an academic visit to Tehran in April 2016. We now hear that his medical condition is declining rapidly and he is in hospital and in desperate need of the best possible medical care. In light of the evidence of which we are aware, he deserves a fair trial, which should lead to his release“
Sir Richard Roberts, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1993, took the initiative to this letter.
There are worrying reports about Dr. Djalali’s health. According to information in media, Djalali was given medical leave from prison to have emergency hernia surgery a month ago. There are also sources that claim that he was visited in jail about a week ago by an expert in internal medicine.
The strong statement by the 121 Nobel laureates should pave the way for a fair trial and subsequent exoneration and release of Dr. Djalali.