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Science Europe Calls for Immediate Release of Dr Ahmadreza Djalali and Suspension of his Death Sentence

The international research community rallies together to defend Swedish–Iranian researcher Dr Ahmadreza Djalali.

Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish–Iranian researcher in disaster medicine, was arrested in April 2016 on a research trip and has since been imprisoned in Iran. He was sentenced to death in October 2017. Sources[1] are reporting that the Iranian authorities are preparing to carry out his death sentence imminently.

The treatment Dr Djalali has been subjected to in prison is in serious violation of his fundamental rights. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations concluded that his detention was arbitrary and called for his immediate release. During his imprisonment, he has been repeatedly denied medical treatment.

According to media reports[2] and human rights groups,[3] Dr Djalali was visiting Iran to participate in a series of workshops hosted by universities in Tehran and Shiraz. Human rights and academic freedom must be guaranteed to researchers, who should be free to conduct research and travel abroad without fear of arbitrary arrests or persecution.

Strong protests are being heard all over the world from researchers, academic institutions, politicians, governments, and other science and human rights organisations. Science Europe strongly condemns the treatment of Dr Djalali and joins in this call for the annulment of the death sentence imposed on him and for his immediate release. Science Europe also calls on European governments and EU institutions to take all necessary steps to that end.

[1] The Guardian, “Swedish-Iranian scientist faces 'imminent risk of execution' in Iran”, 1 December 2020; and Nature News, “Alarm as execution looms for scientist on death row in Iran”, 30 November 2020.

[2] Le Soir, “Iran: la VUB se bat depuis 2016 pour la libération du professeur Djalali”, 2 December 2020.

[3] Scholars At Risk, available at:

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