Iran Focus

London, 9 Feb - An Iranian-Swedish doctor on death row in Iran, accused of collaborating with a hostile government, is suffering from major health conditions and is on the brink of death, according to his wife.

Vida Mehran Nia, speaking from her home in Sweden, explained that her husband, Ahmad Reza Jalali, recently had surgery to repair a hernia, but the operation was botched and now Jalali is suffering from anaemia and has lost a lot of weight.

Jalali, who is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison, was arrested in April 2016 after flying in to attend a conference at the University of Tehran on disaster medicine, his speciality.

Jalali, who was working at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was sentenced to death in October 2017 and Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict. His lawyer has repeatedly tried to appeal the decision since.

Iranian state television broadcast a false confession by Jalali in December 2017, but he disavowed the recording, explaining that it was made under duress. The Regime has a history of torturing prisoners into giving false confessions.

Health issues

Mehran Nia explained that Jalali was rushed to the hospital for hernia surgery on November 18, 2018, but was returned to prison the following day before his stitches had healed and now needs another surgery as a result.

He is also suffering from anaemia, which also requires additional hospital treatment, but this has been denied by prison authorities. Mehran Nia said that Jalali has now lost 30 kilograms from his original weight of 81 kg.

She said: “His life is at stake. He desperately needs medical treatment.”

Mehran Nia said that although she has been in regular phone contact with Jalali and his lawyer, neither she nor their two children have not been allowed to see him since he left for Iran nearly three years ago.

The international response

In December, a group of 121 Nobel laureates, led by British molecular biologist Richard Roberts, signed an open letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about Jalali’s health and asked Khamenei to ensure that Jalali is treated “humanely and fairly” and released as soon as possible.

Mehran Nia said the Swedish ambassador in Tehran has repeatedly asked Iranian authorities for consular access to Jalali, but this has always been denied.

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