UPDATE, DEC 10:
Swedish citizen and European Union employee Johan Floderus (pictured), detained for 602 days in Iran, is facing the death penalty.
Iran’s judiciary announced on Sunday that Floderus is accused of “extensive measures against the security of the country, extensive intelligence cooperation with the Zionist regime [Israel], and corruption on Earth”.
UPDATE, DEC 8:
The family of Swedish citizen and European Union employee Johan Floderus, detained for 600 days in Iran, has spoken of the “levels of hell” endured by his son.
Matts Floderus told The Guardian that Johan has been on hunger strike at least five times. He is held, with no routine consular visits or phone calls, in a cell with no bed under 24-hour lighting. He is being denied books and food supplements.
Close to tears, Matts spoke of his wife’s desperate hopes that Johan would be home for Christmas.
It is devastating for her. There are moments it is very difficult for both of us. We have both cried a lot, she a lot more than me. But I have also cried more than I have done since I was maybe two or three years old.
We are deeply worried and say this over and over again. He has been arbitrarily detained. He has done nothing wrong and should be freed and allowed to leave the country.
Johan was detained on April 17, 2022 as Iran’s authorities sought to use foreign nationals as bargaining chips for concessions. His identity was only revealed in September after his family conceded that “silent diplomacy” was not working.
Initially we decided to be silent to give the other side a chance to say it was all a mistake and give them a chance to just let Johan go without losing face. But after a certain time everyone understood this was not going to happen.
Generally, it seems as if things have – and we are talking about levels of hell here – it looks like it works a little, little better since his name became public.
Matts said Johan’s spirits were raised when saw his name and face on Iranian TV in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Meeting MEPs and the EU’s diplomatic service this week, Matts said there is “reason to believe” that the trial will be this month. He said Johan “didn’t care what the verdict would be because it would mean the same thing whatever they decided to charge him with – it is just theater, just make-believe.”
UPDATE, SEPT 10:
The family of Swedish citizen and European Union employee Johan Floderus have asked the international community to secure his release from Iranian detention after more than 500 days.
The statement — posted on Floderus’s 33rd birthday on a website dedicated to his release — said, “The family, friends, and supporters of Johan are calling for urgent international attention to secure his immediate release and safe return to Europe.”
The family expressed concern that “his needs for adequate food rations, outside walks, medical checkups, and much more are not respected”.
He has been denied communication with Sweden’s embassy in Tehran, except for a few consular visits, and from February 2023 he has been restricted to making short phone calls once a month.
“He had to go on hunger strike to be allowed to make several of these calls, which have to be in English and monitored,” the family said.
EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell said last Tuesday that Floderus’s imprisonment had been raised repeatedly with Iranian authorities.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, SEPT 5: Swedish citizen Johan Floderus, an employee of the European Union’s diplomatic service, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than 500 days.
Floderus’s detention was only revealed this week. He is being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
The EU is among the foreign and dual nationals seized by Iranian authorities and held as leverage for political and economic concessions from the US and European countries.Last month the US agreed with Iran that five American political prisoners would be freed, in return for the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian assets in South Korea and the release of Iranians imprisoned in the US for sanctions evasion.
Floderus has several positions in EU agencies after completing its civil service training program. He worked as an aide to the European Commissioner for Migration, Ylva Johansson, from 2019. Two years later, he joined the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic corps.
The EU employee had visited Iran without without incident on official business for the bloc’s development program. In spring 2023, he returned as a tourist with several Swedish friends. Preparing to depart from Imam Khomeini International Airport outside Tehran on April 17, he was detained.
Six sources, speaking to The New York Times, each denied that Floderus was involved in espionage.
“Deeply Worried and In Despair”
Floderus’s family said in a statement on Monday afternoon:
We are deeply worried and in despair. Johan was suddenly and without reason deprived of his liberty on a vacation trip and has been in an Iranian prison for more than 500 days.
We know that many are working hard to get him free and we are grateful for that. At the same time, every day is a huge trial, for us and above all for Johan. He must be released and allowed to come home immediately.
The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs commented in an e-mail:
A Swedish citizen — a man in his 30s — was detained in Iran in April 2022. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran are working on the case intensively.
We understand that there is interest in this matter, but in our assessment it would complicate the handling of the case if the ministry were to publicly discuss its actions.
Without acknowledge Floderus as a staff member, the European External Action Service said through spokesperson Nabila Massrali:
This case has also to be seen in the context of the growing number of arbitrary detentions involving EU citizens.
We have used and will continue to use every opportunity to raise the issue with the Iranian authorities to obtain the release of all arbitrarily detained EU citizens.