Halt the execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali

Posted May 5, 2022

Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali is at risk of imminent execution by May 21. SAR issued the below letter to Iranian authorities urging them to immediately halt the execution and secure his release so he may return to his wife and children in Sweden. Dr. Djalali and his family have been living a nightmare for the past six years. His life must be saved. He must be released.

Here’s how you can help Dr. Djalali:

Via email

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o H.E. Mr. Majid Takht Ravanchi
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

May 5, 2022

RE: Halt the execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali

Your Excellency:

I write on behalf of Scholars at Risk to respectfully urge you to call on the appropriate authorities to immediately halt the imminent execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish scholar of disaster medicine wrongfully sentenced to death in Iran. I seek your urgent intervention now after news that Iranian authorities are preparing to carry out their execution of Dr. Djalali by May 21.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of more than 600 universities and colleges in 42 countries dedicated to protecting the human rights of scholars around the world, and to raising awareness, understanding of, and respect for the principles of academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of expression, opinion, thought, association, and travel. In cases like this, involving alleged infringement of these freedoms, SAR investigates, hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.

On May 4, 2022, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported that Iranian authorities are taking steps to execute Dr. Djalali by May 21. This is the third time in the past three years in which authorities have threatened to carry out Dr. Djalali’s execution. Iranian authorities arrested Dr. Djalali in April 2016 while he was traveling to participate in a series of workshops hosted by universities in Tehran and Shiraz. On October 21, 2017, Dr. Djalali was convicted and sentenced to death for “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz), based on unsubstantiated allegations that he had provided intelligence to Israeli authorities. Dr. Djalali has disputed the allegations, asserting that his ties to the international academic community are the basis of his prosecution. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found in a 2017 opinion that he was arbitrarily detained and called for his immediate release. SAR understands that Dr. Djalali has been denied the right to appeal his conviction and sentence, denied access to appropriate medical care for numerous health complications that worsened while he was in solitary confinement, denied access to his lawyer and his family in Iran, and barred from making calls to his wife and children in Sweden.

Absent additional information, the facts as described suggest that Dr. Djalali’s arrest, conviction, and sentencing suggest a flagrant disregard for international standards of academic freedom, due process, fair trial, and humane treatment of prisoners, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.

Dr. Djalali and his family have been living a nightmare for the past six years. His life must be saved. He must be released. I therefore respectfully urge you to do everything in your power to halt the execution and secure Dr. Djalali’s release and his safe return to his wife and two children in Sweden.

I appreciate your attention to this life-and-death matter and look forward to your reply.


Robert Quinn
Executive Director


President Ebrahim Raeisi
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o H.E. Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

The Honorable Magdalena Andersson
Prime Minister

The Honorable Ann Linde
Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Honorable Sophie Wilmès
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Federal Cultural Institutions
Kingdom of Belgium

The Honorable Annalena Baerbock
Federal Foreign Minister
German Federal Foreign Office

The Honorable Luigi Di Maio
Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Honorable Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
United States of America

The Honorable Santiago Villalpando
Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs, UNESCO

The Honorable Michelle Bachelet
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles
High Representative/Vice-President
European Commission

The Honorable Eamon Gilmore
EU Special Representative for Human Rights
European External Action Service

The Honorable Cornelia Ernst
Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iran

Iran Division
European External Action Service
European Union