Campaign

Press Release

May 18, 2022

Author Ariel Dorfman Urges Iran Halt Execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali

International Emergency Campaign Joins Calls to Rescind Execution, Demands Iran Free All Its Political Prisoners

May 18, 2022

Ariel Dorfman, the author of Death and the Maiden and many books published in Iran, has urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt its scheduled May 21 execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, an imprisoned Swedish-Iranian academic. In a statement released today, Dorfman writes:

“As an author who deeply loves Iranian culture and has been inspired, like so many others worldwide, by all the beauty and peace, wisdom and wonder that is inscribed in Farsi and honors the country, I beg the authorities not to stain that tradition and lineage by executing such a renowned scholar as Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. Would you not rather be praised for your mercy than for your cruelty?”

(On May 21 at 6:33pm Eastern Time, Iran International tweeted:  “While #AhmadrezaDjalali was supposed to be hanged on Saturday, his wife says the execution did not take place, and Iran's justice minister is considering a postponement of the death sentence.”)

The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC) joins with Ariel Dorfman, Dr. Djalali’s family, Scholars At Risk, and many other human rights organizations and people of conscience who are calling on Iran to rescind its threatened execution of Dr. Djalali.

“Executing the unjustly imprisoned Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali would be a dangerous escalation of Iran’s already brutal treatment of political prisoners, protesters and dissidents,” says Larry Everest, a spokesperson for the IEC. “Even the threat to execute Dr. Djalali underscores the urgent need to step up the struggle to free all of Iran’s political prisoners and to defend its courageous protesters and dissidents. In that light, I call on all justice loving people to sign an Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance – We Must ACT NOW!.

Ariel Dorfman, the author of Death and the Maiden and many books published in Iran, has urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt its scheduled May 21 execution of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, an imprisoned Swedish-Iranian academic. In a statement released today, Dorfman writes:

“As an author who deeply loves Iranian culture and has been inspired, like so many others worldwide, by all the beauty and peace, wisdom and wonder that is inscribed in Farsi and honors the country, I beg the authorities not to stain that tradition and lineage by executing such a renowned scholar as Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. Would you not rather be praised for your mercy than for your cruelty?”

(On May 21 at 6:33pm Eastern Time, Iran International tweeted:  “While #AhmadrezaDjalali was supposed to be hanged on Saturday, his wife says the execution did not take place, and Iran's justice minister is considering a postponement of the death sentence.”)

The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now (IEC) joins with Ariel Dorfman, Dr. Djalali’s family, Scholars At Risk, and many other human rights organizations and people of conscience who are calling on Iran to rescind its threatened execution of Dr. Djalali.

“Executing the unjustly imprisoned Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali would be a dangerous escalation of Iran’s already brutal treatment of political prisoners, protesters and dissidents,” says Larry Everest, a spokesperson for the IEC. “Even the threat to execute Dr. Djalali underscores the urgent need to step up the struggle to free all of Iran’s political prisoners and to defend its courageous protesters and dissidents. In that light, I call on all justice loving people to sign an Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance – We Must ACT NOW!.

This Appeal has been endorsed by 3,700 people from 40 countries, including Ariel Dorfman. Other signers include former Iranian political prisoners, relatives of current prisoners, the Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement, and prominent voices of conscience including Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams; as well as Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Daniel Ellsberg, Judith Butler, and Raymond Lotta. The Appeal appeared as an ad on the back cover of the Summer 2021 issue of The New York Review of Books and and will soon appear as an ad in the summer issue of Ms. Magazine. It has been translated into Farsi, Turkish, French, Spanish, and German.

Ahmadreza Djalali, detained in Iran on trumped-up charges since April 2016. Courtesy, IranHumanRights.org

BACKGROUND: Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, Trial in Sweden, Upheaval in Iran

Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali is an Iranian-born Swedish physician and researcher specializing in disaster medicine. In 2016 he was arrested in Tehran after traveling there from Stockholm. He had been invited by the University of Tehran. He was held in isolation, tortured, and later wrote from prison that Iran’s Intelligence Ministry pressured him to engage in espionage, and when he refused, he was forced to make false confessions without access to a lawyer. He was then tried on espionage charges in a sham trial and sentenced to death in 2017.

His threatened execution is taking place against the backdrop of the trial in Sweden of former Iranian official Hamid Nouri for war crimes (specifically for helping carry out the 1988 mass execution of 5,000 Iranian political prisoners); ongoing mass protest and upheaval across Iran which is being met by violent state repression and arbitrary arrests (including of two French nationals); and a 25 percent rise in executions since 2020.

See:

"Iran’s Execution Threat Against Swedish Scientist Aimed at Thwarting War Crimes Trial," Center for Human Rights in Iran, May 4, 2022

"Iran on Fire: Fierce Resistance Meets Ferocious Repression Head On," IEC, May 16, 2022

"Teachers Across Iran Protest on May Day – Defying Regime Crackdown," IEC, May 8, 2022

Campaign Updates & Press Releases

October 10, 2022
Update
Iran Uprising Enters 4th Week:
June 1, 2022
Update
Save the Date: June 10
December 2, 2021
Press Release
Eyes of World on Iran as JPCOA Talks Resume
October 3, 2021
Update
Now Available Online – Watch
September 22, 2021
Update
UN Press Conference Photos and Video
September 17, 2021
Update
Heroism for Our Times
May 20, 2021
Update
Letter to Signatories

Prisoner News