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Iranian-Swedish Man Facing Death Sentence Says Televised Confession Was Coerced

A flyer handed out during a protest outside the Iranian embassy in Brussels for Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish academic who has been detained in Iran since April 2016.

An Iranian-Swedish academic sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges has dismissed a confession aired on Iranian TV as false, saying it was coerced.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, said in an audio recording that authorities forced him into making a confession by promising to release him.

In the broadcast on state-controlled television on December 17, Djalali admitted to supplying information to a foreign intelligence service about Iranian nuclear scientists who were later assassinated.

In the audio recording, Djalali said he made the confession under psychological pressure.

His family confirmed the authenticity of the audio recording in a December 19 interview with the BBC, and said that he made the recording inside the prison.

Djalali, 46, was arrested in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage. He and his family have denied the charges.

Rights groups have condemned Djalali's arrest, saying it follows a pattern of Iran detaining dual nationals and expatriates without due process.

Iran has a record of airing forced televised confessions of political detainees.

Several of the detainees have said following their release that they were forced to confess under duress.

With reporting by the BBC and Radio Farda