Wednesday , 24 July 2024

Iranwire Exclusive: A Message from a Swedish Prisoner: Prime Minister Kristersson, You Left Me Behind

Iranwire – Ahmadreza Jalali, a Swedish-Iranian doctor on death row in Iran, has demanded answers from the Swedish government for “leaving him behind” following an Iran-Sweden prisoner swap that released a convicted war criminal. 

Ahmadreza Jalali, a Swedish-Iranian doctor on death row in Iran, has demanded answers from the Swedish government for "leaving him behind" following an Iran-Sweden prisoner swap that released a convicted war criminal

“Mr Prime Minister, you decided to leave me behind under a huge risk of being executed,” he said in an audio clip obtained by IranWire from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.

“You did not act to deal on altering my condition and canceling the death sentence before the swap is done,” he said in the voice note. 

The June 15 prisoner swap saw the release of Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian official convicted and jailed in Sweden of war crimes and mass executions during the 1989 government killings of political prisoners in Iran.

In exchange, Tehran freed two Swedish citizens, Johan Floderus, a diplomat, and Saeed Azizi.

“I am happy that these two people were released,” Jalali added. “But it is obviously a discriminative action and behavior that you took two Swedish and left another one here.”

“You left me here helpless,” he told the Swedish prime minister, Ulf Kristersson. 

“Why not me? after 3,000 days. You certainly remember two years ago when the Iranian government announced a two-week deadline for executing me just because of political challenges between the two countries and I was used as a leverage,” he said.

Jalali, a university lecturer and expert in disaster medicine, was arrested in Iran in 2016. 

In 2017, he told his family that he was sentenced to death after he refused to cooperate with Iran’s Intelligence organization and spy on Iranian scientists abroad.

Jalali is suffering from serious health problems and Amnesty International has urged Tehran’s Prosecutor General to allow him to receive specialized medical care.

“Mr Prime Minister, you may know that the United Nations Human Rights Council formally mentioned me as innocent,” Jalali said.

“Why did you decide to leave me behind?” he asked the Swedish Prime Minister again in the audio clip. 

“You were not able to imagine how badly my wife and children have suffered from these horrible events over the past years. If you could imagine the feeling of my family, and if you had minimum sympathy with my children you would never leave me behind. I spent around 3,000 days in Evin Prison. Over this period of time, every day, I think if it is the last day of my life. I and my family are on the safe earth but far away in two different worlds. They are heartbroken, fearful, full of sadness and I am full of worryingness about them,” he said.  

In recent years, five individuals with Swedish citizenship have been imprisoned in Iran: Ahmadreza Jalali and Johan Floderus were accused of espionage, Kevin Gilbert and Simon Kasper were accused of drug-related offenses, and Saeed Azizi, whose charges are unknown.

He was arrested in Iran on April 17, 2022. His last court session was held in Tehran on January 28, 2023, where the prosecutor accused him of “transmitting information abroad” and “having contact with Israel.”

During his detention, Ahmadreza Jalali has gone on multiple hunger strikes to protest the prison conditions. 

According to Vida Mehrannia, Jalali’s wife, there were fears in 2017 that he had leukemia, but prison authorities blocked his treatment. 

In February 2022, Mehrannia reported that her husband was returned to prison just a day after surgery for acute intestinal adhesions.

Western governments have repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage to then use them in prisoner swaps or as a bargaining chip in international negotiations.

Many European countries have urged their nationals not to travel to Iran, warning that they face the risk of arbitrary arrest or unfair trial.

Louis Arnaud, a French citizen detained in Iran for nearly two years, was also one of the Iranian government’s hostages before his release and return to France earlier this week. 

“My son is always watching on the door and waiting for me to hug each other,” Jalili said. “Mr Prime Minister, to show your honesty and humanity as the core values of the Swedish people, try to be brave and responsible, meet my son and my family in front of TV cameras and tell my son why you left his father behind and what will you do for him if I get executed.”