Djalali was a visiting professor at Belgium’s Vrije University when Iranian authorities detained him during a visit in April, when he had traveled to Iran to attend a scientific workshop based on an official invitation from an Iranian university. He was accused of passing information to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service during the negotiations that led to Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015. Djalali claims he is being punished for refusing to spy for Iran while working in Europe.
Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty’s internal deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa declared, “This is 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.” She called on the Iranian authorities to quash the sentence and grant him a “meaningful appeal.” Amnesty alleges that Djalali’s lawyers repeatedly contacted the Supreme Court to present their submissions over the past month, but were stonewalled.
Claiming that the evidence in his initial trial was gathered under duress, Djalali’s lawyers said no evidence has been produced to substantiate the allegations. Amnesty argues that Iran’s courts have “run roughshod over the rule of law.”
When the sentence was announced in October, Tehran’s prosecutor general, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, said, “One of the actions of the convict was revealing the location of and some information on 30 outstanding individuals engaged in military and nuclear research projects.” He claimed further that the information led to the assassination of two Iranian nuclear scientists, Majid Shahriari and Masoud Alimohammadi, who were killed in bomb blasts in 2010 at the height of tensions over the country’s atomic program.
Five Iranian scientists, four of whom were involved in the country’s nuclear program, were murdered in bomb and gun attacks in Tehran between 2010 and 2012. Iran accused the US and Israel of killing its scientists.
Shahriari was a key member of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a deputy director of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. In 2012, Majid Jamali Fashi was convicted for working for Mossad and assassinating Alimohammadi, and executed. Also hanged for working for Israel and the US were three others, including nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri.