The Iranian Supreme Court considered and confirmed on 9 December the imprisoned scholar Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali’s death sentence, initially issued on 21 October. Moreover, in an extremely worrying development, Dr. Djalali appears to have been denied a proper appeal. In light of this turn of events, President of EUA, Professor Rolf Tarrach, issues a second letter on this matter and repeats the call on Iranian authorities to reverse the death sentence against Dr. Djalali and ensure his unconditional release.
In grave concern of Dr. Djalali’s critical situation and in a collective effort to increase international pressure that can facilitate his release, the European University Association is urging all members to send their own letter to the Iranian authorities to state their support to the imprisoned scholar, and request the reversing of his death sentence.
The European University Association and its members strongly condemn this egregious violation of accepted judicial norms and Dr. Djalali’s rights, which demonstrates a troubling disregard for international standards of academic freedom, due process, fair trial, and humane treatment of prisoners, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.
Djalali, an Iranian-born resident of Sweden who teaches disaster medicine at universities in Italy and Belgium, was arrested in April 2016 while visiting Iran to participate in a series of academic workshops. He is a medical doctor and lecturer at the Stockholm medical university, Karolinska Institute, Sweden, and a research associate in disaster medicine at the Centre for Research and Education in Emergency and Disaster Medicine at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy. He also teaches at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Brussels, Belgium. Dr Djalali believes he was arrested for refusing to spy for the Iranian intelligence service, Nature reported on 23 October 2017.