Images of Ahmadreza Djalali before his detention and in Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran

Concern is rising that Swedish-Iranian scientist and political prisoner Ahmadreza Djalali will soon be executed in Iran.

Djalali was to be taken from Tehran’s Evin Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison on Tuesday, part of the process for death sentences which are often carried out on Wednesdays, according to human rights groups.

UN Human Rights Rapporteur Agnés Callamard explained:

The judge overseeing the arbitrary killing reportedly said the family would be granted a last-minute visit before his execution. Unconscionable. And unlawful. Human lives just pawns in international politics, tit for tat, no end in sight.

The Iran Human Rights campaign said, “Ahmadreza Djalali is at imminent risk of execution and only a strong and urgent reaction from the international community can save his life.”

Reports circulated last week of the imminent execution of Djalali, detained in April 2016 after he was invited to a University of Tehran conference and sentenced to death in October 2017.

His wife Vida Mehrannia said on Tuesday:

I spoke to him a week ago and what he said would happen is taking place. He will be executed at some point tomorrow, unless someone intervenes, I am not a political person, but all I can ask is that countries that have influence, maybe Austria and the US, will ask Iran to open his door and cancel his sentence. I hope the media will help me.

I cannot tell my children what is happening these past four years or explain. How do I explain this?

Last week Iran freed Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, held for 26 months, in exchange for three Iranians detained in Thailand over an assassination plot. But on Friday, tension escalated when Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the physicist in charge of Iran’s nuclear program, was assassinated in Abzard, 70 km (43 miles) east of Tehran.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, said last week that she has spoken with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. But the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said it cannot intervene in the cases of imprisoned dual nationals.

Djalali, a specialist in disaster and emergency medicine, is a lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital Stockholm. After he was seized in Tehran, he was accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate four nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012.

No evidence was presented in public, and Djalali’s friends say he was forced into a “confession”.

In November, 153 Nobel laureates wrote an open letter to the Supreme Leader requesting Djalali’s release.

There have been claims that Iranian officials are seeking to trade a reprieve for Djalali for the release of the Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, on trial in Belgium over a plot to explode a bomb at an Iranian opposition rally in 2018.

Assadi is claiming diplomatic immunity and is refusing to appear at the trial.