Iran Daily: State TV’s Campaign for Death Penalty for Detained Academic

A flyer during a protest outside the Iranian Embassy in Brussels, February 13, 2017 (Dirk Weem/AP)

Supreme Court upheld punishment of Ahmadreza Jalali in early December


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Iranian State TV has broadcast a program trying to justify the death penalty on Ahmadreza Jalali, an Iranian academic with Swedish residency.

Jalali, doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has been caught up in the Revolutionary Guards’ punishment of dual nationals and Iranians living abroad, including the imposition of lengthy prison sentences.

See Iran Daily, Dec 10: UK Foreign Minister Seeks Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Release — Tehran Stays Silent

Jalali was seized in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage. The death penalty was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month.

No evidence was ever presented in public during the proceedings, and Jalali’s family said he was denied effective legal representation and proper court hearings.

State TV has supported the detentions with programs presenting spurious claims of supposed guilt. On Sunday it tried to bolster the judiciary’s story that the doctor provided information to Israel’s intelligence service Mossad to help it assassinate four senior nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012.

The program broadcast a “confession” from Jalali, but his wife Vida Mehrannia said:

After three months in solitary confinement, his interrogators told him that he would be released only if he reads from a text in front of the camera.

My husband told me that they shouted at him each time he was saying something different from the text and stopped the filming.

The broadcast repeated the regime’s claims that Jalali cooperated with Israel in return for money and residency of a European country. Mehrannia responded, “We have not received money from anyone and our lifestyle shows that. We don’t have a house or a car. We got our Swedish residency after finishing our studies here.”

Swedish officials, including the Foreign Minister, have condemned the death penalty and said it raised the matter with Iranian envoys in Stockholm and Tehran. Last month, 75 Nobel Prize laureates petitioned Iranian authorities to release Jalali so he could “continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind”. They said Jalali indicated he was imprisoned because he refused to work for Iranian intelligence services, a claim which has also been made by other dual nationals detained in Tehran.


Ahmadinejad Gives 48-Hour Ultimatum to Judiciary

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to head of judiciary Sadeq Amoli Larijani, to publish documents related to Ahmadinejad’s conviction by Parliament’s Audit Court over the diversion of $3 billion of Government revenues.

Ahmadinejad said in a video released on Sunday on Dolate Bahar, a website supporting him and his allies, “Sadly, the head of judiciary, who is expected to respect the Islamic Republic’s Constitution and general laws more than anybody else, has repeatedly violated Articles 36 and 37 of the Constitution.”

The articles are about due process of law and innocence “unless the person’s guilt is proven at a qualified court”.

Referring to comments made by Larijani at a meeting with university students last week, Ahmadinejad responded, “The head of judiciary has charged me and my colleagues with a list of accusations. He has described us as ‘seditionist’ [and] ‘devious’.”

Ahmadinejad has been embroiled in a bitter battle with the Larijani family of five brothers, including the judiciary head, Speaker of Parliament Ali, and high-ranking judiciary official Mohammad Javad. The former President has accused the brothers of corruption and illegal acquisition of property.

Ahmadinejad said that, if his ultimatum is not met, “I will publicly present my findings on the judiciary’s head and his performance during past eight years.” He continued:

More than ever, this is the right time to defend the oppressed against the judiciary. If the judiciary is reformed, everything would be set aright in Iran. These peoplemust go and soon they will be gone.

Attorney General Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri responded that “within a day or two this issue will be answered”.

Montazeri had earlier presented Ahmadinejad’s Presidency from 2005 to 2013 as a period of law avoidance and accused Ahmadinejad of lies.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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