Published: 24-10-2017 19:46 | Updated: 06-11-2017 13:13

Karolinska Institutet's Commentary on Dr Ahmadreza Djalali

Commentary: On 23 October 2017, Nature writes on the prosecution of Ahmadreza Djalali, a PhD and former research associate of Karolinska Institutet: “A judge in Tehran has ordered the death penalty for Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Djalali, according to his wife and diplomatic sources in Italy.” Today Reuters confirms that Dr Djalali has been sentenced to death in Iran on suspicion of espionage.

As Vice-Chancellor of Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, I would like to express my deepest concern over the detention of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali who was arrested last year in Iran and who could now face the death penalty.

As of today the evidentiary basis of his arrest remains undisclosed.

Dr. Djalali is an Iranian-born resident of Sweden and received his PhD in disaster medicine in 2012 at Karolinska Institutet. He was affiliated with Karolinska Institutet until 2016. He teaches at the Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Italy, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. For many years, he has worked with researchers from all over the world to improve the capacity of hospitals in countries suffering from extreme poverty or affected by disasters and armed conflicts.

Karolinska Institutet – a medical university and a Scholars at risk member – is strongly committed to academic freedom and human rights. All citizens are entitled to due process and a fair trial, and no citizen should be subjected to the death penalty. The death penalty is an act of violence that creates more violence and that is in conflict with human dignity, a wealth of research, and all the values our universities stand for.

We ask that Dr Djalali be subjected to due process and fair trial.

Ole Petter Ottersen, Vice-Chancellor at Karolinska Institutet