Iran sentences two Swedish citizens over drug smuggling

Prison terms come amid strained diplomatic relations between Tehran and Stockholm

People outside Stockholm District Court in Stockholm, Sweden, on July 14 2022 after a life sentence was handed out to Hamid Nouri, a former official in Iran's judiciary accused of war crimes over the killing of prisoners in Iran during the 1980s. AFP
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Iran has sentenced two Swedish citizens to prison on charges of drug smuggling, the country's judiciary announced on Tuesday.

It is the latest in a string of cases heightening tension between the two countries.

Iran’s hardline judiciary sentenced Swedish citizen Simon Kasper Brown to five years in jail and fined him about $34,000 for allegedly trafficking 9.7 kilograms of the banned pain medication tramadol.

Security forces arrested Brown at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran and confiscated the pills, judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said.

Tehran also sentenced Swedish citizen Stephen Kevin Gilbert to eight years in prison and ordered him to pay a $500 fine.

He was arrested at the same airport in January 2020 for allegedly smuggling 9.8 kilograms of opium-based drugs into the country, the judiciary said.

Brown and Gilbert are the latest Swedes to land in Iranian prison as relations between the two countries deteriorate.

This year, Iran jailed two Swedish visitors on espionage charges in separate incidents that drew widespread condemnation.

Another Swedish citizen, Ahmadreza Djalali, a respected 50-year-old doctor whom Iran accuses of spying for Israel, faces the death penalty.

His arrest came amid strained diplomatic tensions between Tehran and Stockholm after a Swedish court sentenced a former Iranian prison official to life for war crimes during mass executions in the Islamic republic in 1988.

Hamid Nouri, a former official in Iran's judiciary accused of war crimes over the killing of prisoners in Iran during the 1980s, was arrested at a Stockholm airport in November 2019. He was sentenced to life in prison by a Swedish court on July 14.

Iran dismissed the verdict as "political" and has called for his release.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 11:36 AM
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