Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali – a KI alumnus and Swedish citizen – has now spent two years in an Iranian prison, after a closed trial and with a death sentence hanging over him. In the absence of evidence to the contrary it appears 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, and that he has been denied proper access to legal counsel and due process.
This stands as one of the most egregious transgressions ever imposed on an academic in modern history. The case reminds us of the Dreyfus affair – an incident that caught the world’s attention about one hundred years ago. After being arrested for treason in 1894, Alfred Dreyfus was summarily and secretly convicted in a martial court and sentenced to imprisonment for life. When the grave injustice against him was exposed he was exonerated and released. International attention was paramount.
Now there is an urgent need to bring Djalali’s case to the world’s attention so as to secure his exoneration and release. All citizens are entitled to due process and a fair trial, and no citizen should be subjected to the death penalty. The Djalali affair threatens to tear apart the international academic community – the fine fabric that builds trust and that disseminates invaluable competence and knowledge to every nation on this planet. It must be in Iran’s own interest to safeguard the global academic community and bring this case to a fair closure.
Please see the World Medical Journal for a recent update on Djalali and the case against him.