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Nobel Laureates Urge Khamenei To Release Swedish Scientist

Ahmadreza Jalali, an Iranian physician, expert on disaster medicine and citizen of Sweden with his wife Vida Mehran Nia.
Ahmadreza Jalali, an Iranian physician, expert on disaster medicine and citizen of Sweden with his wife Vida Mehran Nia.

More than 100 Nobel laureates have called upon Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to allow ailing Iranian Swedish dual national, Dr. Ahmadreza Jalali (Djalali) to "return home" to his wife and children.

Jalali, 46, a resident of Sweden since 2009, is a physician and researcher focused on crisis management affiliated with the Karolinska Institute near Stockholm. While on an official academic visit hosted by Tehran University, Jalali was accused of “collaboration with a hostile government” and arrested in April 2016. Since then, he has been kept behind bars at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

In their letter, 121 Nobel Laureates have addressed Khamenei asking him to ensure that Jalali receives the “best possible medical care,” is “treated humanely and fairly,” and to “allow Dr. Jalali to return home to his wife and children and continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind.”

Jalali was tried by a notorious Judge, Abolqassem Salavati in a Revolution Court and sentenced to death for “corruption on Earth” on October 21, 2017. Salavati is well-known for issuing harsh sentences, especially in political cases.

Jalali’s family and colleagues initially kept news of the arrest under wraps in an attempt to prevent the situation from escalating but spoke out following the death penalty verdict.

Iranian Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in December 2017.

A few days later, Iran’s state television broadcast what it described as the confessions of Jalali who it said had provided information to Israel to help assassinate several senior nuclear scientists.

However, his wife, Vida Mehran Nia told Radio Farda at the time that her husband had been forced by his interrogators to read the confession.

Amnesty International (AI) also emphasized that “Jalali has been under pressure to sign documents, admitting that he had collaborated with a 'hostile government.'"

When Jalali refused, he was threatened with being charged with waging a “war against God,” which is punishable by death in Iran, AI noted, adding, “There has been no evidence showing Jalai has ever had any activity outside the academic domain.”

Sweden also condemned the sentence and said it had brought the matter up at high-level meetings with Iranian representatives in Stockholm and Tehran.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), which has published a copy of the letter, reported on Monday, "The letter was featured by supporters of Djalali at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm on December 10."

"We now hear that Dr. Jalali's medical condition is declining rapidly and he is in a hospital and in desperate need of the best possible medical care. In light of the evidence of which we are aware, he deserves a fair trial, which should lead to his release," the Nobel Laureates have asserted in their new letter.

On behalf of the signatories to the letter, the winner of 1993 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Sir Richard Roberts, has addressed Khamenei, saying, "In November 2017, and again in February 2018 I wrote on behalf of a consortium of Nobel Laureates about the plight of a medical scholar, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who was arrested on an academic visit to Tehran in April 2016."

Furthermore, Dr. Roberts has noted, "We now have 121 Nobel Laureates supporting this cause, and we would urge you to attend to this case personally and make sure that Dr. Djalali is treated humanely and fairly and is released as soon as possible."

This is the third letter signed by Nobel Laureates, calling for the unconditional release of Jalali.