Prison staff beat Swedish-Iranian academic in Iranian jail over stolen medicine

Rights group says Ahmadreza Djalali was attacked after he complained that his medication was being stolen

Ahmadreza Djalali was arrested in April 2016 and sentenced to death by Iran, who claim he was spying for Israel.
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A Swedish-Iranian doctor on death row in Iran was beaten by staff at Tehran’s Evin jail when he accused them of stealing his medicine, according to a rights group.

Ahmadreza Djalali, 50, an expert in disaster medicine who has been held for six years, was attacked in the prison’s infirmary on April 4, according to the Oslo group Iran Human Rights.

The group said that Mr Djalali’s cellmates reported the attack and cited an unidentified source who said that the attack followed his protests about missing medicine.

“Ahmadreza protested when he realised that the infirmary staff were stealing his medications and asked them to return them,” the source told the group. “They ignored his request and proceeded to beat him up.”

Mr Djalali was arrested in April 2016 after he travelled to Iran at the request of two universities to speak at workshops.

He was convicted 18 months later of "corruption on Earth" and sentenced to death after being accused of spying for Israel.

The UN says confessions were obtained under torture and that he should be released and paid compensation.

In a letter from prison, Mr Djalali said he was pursued by the Iranian authorities because he refused to use his academic links to spy for Iran. He was granted Swedish citizenship in February 2018, while in prison.

Iran Human Rights said he had been banned from contact with his family and they were unaware of the extent of his injuries.

Mr Djalali has suffered a dramatic loss of weigh and struggled with stomach, heart and breathing problems during his six years in prison. He has spent long periods in solitary confinement.

The UN last year said that it was shocked and distressed at the “cruel mistreatment” of Mr Djalali. Experts for the organisation said that he was being kept in “truly horrific” conditions at the prison.

At the time of the alert in March 2021, he had spent more than 100 days in solitary confinement in a cramped cell and was kept awake all night by bright lights.

His situation is so difficult that he reportedly has trouble speaking,” UN experts said.

Updated: April 11, 2022, 1:41 PM
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