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Academic criticizes Swedish PM over missed prisoner swap opportunity

Academic criticizes Swedish PM over missed prisoner swap opportunity

Academic criticizes Swedish PM over missed prisoner swap opportunity

Academic criticizes Swedish PM over missed prisoner swap opportunity

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  • Iran excluded Djalali, who has been on death row since 2017, from the swap.
  • His son, born in Sweden, has spent two-thirds of his life without a father.
  • Djalali was denied the ability to make calls to Sweden due to the recording’s publication.
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Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish academic who has been on death row in Iran for eight years, criticized Sweden’s prime minister in an audio recording obtained by the source on Wednesday. Two Swedes were released on Saturday in exchange for Hamid Noury, a 63-year-old former Iranian prisons official who was handed a life sentence in Sweden in 2022 for his involvement in mass killings in Iranian jails in 1988.

The two Swedes were EU diplomat Johan Floderus, who had been held in Iran since April 2022 on charges of espionage, and Iranian-Swede Saeed Azizi, who was arrested in November. However, Iran excluded Ahmadreza Djalali from the swap. Djalali has been on death row in Iran since 2017 after being convicted of espionage.

“Mr. Prime Minister, you decided to leave me behind under huge risk of being executed,” Jalali said in an audio recording shared with AFP by his wife Vida Mehrannia.

“I talk to you from Evin prison, inside a horrible cave where I have spent eight years, two months, almost 3,000 days of my life,” Djalali said.

Addressing Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Djalali questioned, “Why not me?” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom emphasized that Stockholm attempted to secure his release, but Tehran declined to discuss his case due to its non-recognition of dual nationality. Djalali obtained Swedish citizenship while imprisoned in Iran.

“It’s just excuses,” Mehrannia told AFP. Her husband’s release “wasn’t important to them, they didn’t want to challenge Iran,” she added.

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“I’m so angry, I’m at a loss for words.”

In his message, Djalali challenged Kristersson to meet his son and family in front of TV cameras and explain “why you left his father behind.”

“My son was four when I was detained, and he is now 12 and a half years old. He has spent two-thirds of his life without a father,” Djalali stated, mentioning that his son was born in Sweden and grew up among Swedish children.

As a result of the publication of the recording, Djalali was denied the ability to make calls to Sweden, Mehrannia told the news.

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