Family of EU diplomat detained in Iran pushing for his release News
© WikiMedia (Ehsan Iran)
Family of EU diplomat detained in Iran pushing for his release

The family of EU Diplomat Johan Floderus continue to push for his release as the Swedish citizen turns 33 in Iranian prison. The family of detained the Swedish native  released a statement on Sunday appealing for his release from Iran. He was first arrested on 17 April 2022 at Tehran Airport. Since then, Floderus has been held in Iran’s Evin prison for over 500 days without charge.

His family claim that Floderus has been held in conditions which breach human rights and international law standards: Floderus’ was unable to have any contact with his family for the first 10 months of his detainment and was only allowed to engage with Swedish authorities five months following his imprisonment. His family also describe the conditions in which Floderus has been held, which include a prison cell that is lit around the clock, and his time for fresh air and sunlight being restricted to 3.5 hours weekly. His family affirmed in their statement that Floderus has spent “over 300 days in solitary confinement” in circumstances they describe as being “[in] blatant disregard of international guidelines”. Floderus has also had to go on a hunger strike in order to have access to phone calls, which have averaged one brief call monthly since February 2023, including one video call. During the video call, Floderus made a “desperate plea” for efforts to secure his release to increase.

The New York Times was the first to report on Floderus’ detainment at the Evin prison located in Tehran, and states that EU and Swedish authorities had kept quiet on the incarceration. However, Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, affirmed his commitment to securing Floderus’ release: “I want to stress that I personally, all my team at all levels — European institutions in close coordination with the Swedish authorities, which have the first responsibility of consular protection — and with his family, have been pushing the Iranian authorities to release him.” Fontelles claimed that the issue had been pushed at all diplomatic meetings “relentlessly”. Floderus’ family also state that the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in close contact with them “in attempts to secure consular visits, phone calls, and meetings with the Iranian authorities”.

The New York Times also stated that Floderus’ detainment forms part of a series of arrests carried out by Iranian authorities in order to secure the release of Iranian prisoners held in foreign jurisdictions or to meet other demands. The BBC reports that Floderus is detained alongside several other foreign nationals and Iranians who are of dual nationality or foreign permanent residency.  Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish medical specialist who has been held in Iran since 2016 and sentenced to death for “corruption on Earth”, is another detainee. Supporters for Djalali claim that his arrest stems from Iranian authorities seeking to exert pressure on Sweden to release Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian official, who is currently subject to a life sentence in Sweden.