GENEVA (25 November 2020) - UN human rights experts* said they were alarmed by reports that Iranian-Swedish academic Ahmadreza Djalali has reportedly been transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution despite widely held findings his trial was grossly unfair and he was tortured.
“We are horrified by the reports that Mr. Djalali is soon to be executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. His torture, arbitrary detention, death sentence and now reported imminent execution are unconscionable acts that should be condemned by the international community in the strongest terms,” the experts said.
“We urge the Iranian authorities to take immediate action to reverse this decision before it is too late.”
Mr. Djalali is a medical doctor and academic who was sentenced to death on spurious espionage charges in October 2017. His conviction and sentence have stood despite credible evidence that his conviction was based on a forced confession extracted under torture and after a grossly unfair trial.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in a 2017 opinion that he was arbitrarily detained and called for his immediate release. During his detention, he has been repeatedly denied medical treatment, despite the strong likelihood that he has leukaemia.
Grave concerns that Mr. Djalali is at imminent risk of execution come after he telephoned his wife on 24 November in what he said would be his last farewell. He reportedly informed her that he would soon be sent to solitary confinement in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, which is understood to be routine before the implementation of death sentences. Mr. Djalali’s lawyer also visited the prosecutor’s office at Evin Prison and saw the order to implement the death sentence. No effort has been made previously by the authorities to inform his lawyer or family of the order.
“The decision of the Iranian Government and judiciary to execute Mr. Djalali is completely reprehensible. On several counts, this would be a clear and serious violation of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law, especially the right to life. We urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to stop this execution immediately,” said the experts.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.