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Amnesty International: Iran Upholds Death Sentence For Academic

A flyer from a protest in February outside the Iranian Embassy in Brussels for Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian academic detained in Tehran and sentenced to death for espionage. (file photo)

Amnesty International says Iran's Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence against an Iranian-Swedish academic who has been convicted of espionage.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, was arrested during a visit for a conference in Tehran for espionage and "enmity with God" -- a crime which in Iran can result in the death penalty.

He was detained in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage, which he denies.

Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a December 12 statement that the court's decision to uphold the death sentence was "not only a shocking assault on the right to a fair trial but is also in utter disregard for Ahmadreza Djalali's right to life."

Mughrabi called on the Iranian authorities to immediately quash the sentence and grant him a "meaningful appeal."

Amnesty said Djalali's lawyers were told on December 9 that the Supreme Court had upheld his October 24 death sentence.

The London-based rights watchdog said the verdict stated that Djalali worked with the Israeli government, which helped him obtain his Swedish residency permit.

Djalali has Iranian citizenship but is a permanent resident of Sweden.

According to Nature magazine, he works on improving hospitals' emergency responses to armed terrorism and radiological, chemical, and biological threats.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP