Iran seeks return of former official convicted for human rights abuses in Sweden News
Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Iran seeks return of former official convicted for human rights abuses in Sweden

Spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani stated in a news conference Monday that Iran will continue to seek the release of former Iranian official Hamid Nouri, whose conviction and sentence of life in prison for human rights abuses in Sweden was upheld last week in the Svea Court of Appeal.

Kanaani stated that the Iranian government will continue its efforts to secure Nouri’s release despite the appeals court ruling, and that the verdict against Nouri was “illegal” and “cruel.” The head of the Iranian Parliament’s Human Rights Committee Zohreh Elahian also announced to Iranian state news media outlet IRNA on Monday that Nouri’s family intended to file a complaint with the International Criminal Court seeking his release, saying:

The family of Mr. Nouri considers it their right to not recognize the verdict issued by the Swedish National Court due to its failure to ensure compliance with legal standards, and to file a complaint against the Swedish judicial system in international courts and pursue the issue through the International Criminal Court.

Elahian went on to allege that Nouri has been in solitary confinement for 50 months and that the testimony at his trial was false. Sweden has previously been criticized by the UN Committee against Torture for over-using solitary confinement in its prison system.

Nouri was arrested in November 2019 in a Swedish airport for his role in a series of prison massacres in Iran in 1988. An Amnesty International report from 2018 alleged that between July and September of 1988, thousands of political dissidents and activists were killed in Iranian prisons with their bodies left in unmarked graves, some of which have yet to be discovered. Multiple officials alleged to be involved in the killings are still in power including current Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Nouri was convicted in the Stockholm District Court in 2022 for participating in a massacre at the Gohardasht Prison near Tehran. 

Nouri’s conviction has raised concerns that Iran will use two Swedish citizens currently detained in Iran, Johan Floderus and Ahmadreza Djalali, as bargaining chips to facilitate the release of Nouri. Iran has done this in the past, releasing Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele in May in exchange for Iranian official Assadolah Assadi and releasing five US prisoners in September in exchange for the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian assets. Iran has accused Floderus of being a “proxy agent of the Zionist regime” making several anti-semitic claims that Floderus is a key part of a Jewish conspiracy to spy on Iran. Floderus has been detained since 2022. Iran has accused Swedish-Iranian professor Djalali of “corruption on earth,” with an Iranian court sentencing him to death. Amnesty International alleged that Djalali was told his death sentence will be carried out imminently, and that Sweden is holding Nouri for the purpose of pressuring Iran to release Djalali. Djalali was arrested in 2016 and was convicted in 2017.