Iranian medical doctor andacademic specialising in disaster medicine Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, a resident of Sweden detained in Iran since 25 April 2016, has been threatened with the death penalty.
Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian national and resident of Sweden, who has been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest on 25 April 2016, has been threatened with the death penalty..
He resumed his hunger strike on 15 February and stopped taking liquids on 24 February. He went on hunger strike after he was taken before Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran where the presiding judge told him that he is not allowed to have contact with or be represented by his chosen lawyer- who was told in late February that she should withdraw from the case, and that he must find a replacement or else the court would appoint a state-approved one for him. The authorities had already dismissed his first lawyer. In response, Ahmadreza Djalali told the judge, “My lawyer has been my lawyer for months but you won’t allow her to defend me. There is nothing against me in my case. It’s better for me to die from my hunger strike than be accused of such baseless charges and get a sentence like this.”
Ahmadreza Djalali’s wife, Vida Mehrannia, who lives in Sweden with their two young children and has been denied contact with her husband, told Amnesty International that his mental and physical health have significantly declined in recent weeks as a result of his hunger strikes and the abuse he has experienced at the hands of the authorities.
In December 2016, the authorities put Ahmadreza Djalali under intense pressure to sign a statement, “confessing” to being a spy for a “hostile government”. When he refused, they said they would charge him with “enmity against God” (moharebeh), which carries the death penalty. In protest, he began a hunger strike on 26 December 2016 and his health has deteriorated since.
Ahmadreza Djalali is a 45-year-old medical doctor, lecturer and researcher in disaster medicine, and has taught in universities in Belgium, Italy and Sweden. He was on a business trip to Iran, having been invited to attend workshops about disaster medicine at universities in Tehran and Shiraz, when he was arrested without a warrant by Ministry of Intelligence officials.