An Urgent Appeal for Doctor Ahmadreza Djalali

Rome, 25/11/2020


Dear HR/VP Josep Borrell,

We are writing to you to express our deep concern for Ahmadreza Djalali’s case.

We have just learned that Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali had been transferred to solitary confinement and he will be soon transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison where his death sentence is to be carried out. 

Dr. Djalali is an Iranian-Swedish researcher affiliated with Sweden’s Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Italy’s University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, where he carried out research on improving hospitals’ emergency responses to armed terrorism and radiological, chemical and biological threats. He is internationally esteemed and regularly collaborates with leading European research institutes. Dr. Djalali´s contribution is undeniable in this field of research. His innovative research has been conducted in multicultural environments and in collaboration with colleagues and institutions in several countries. His studies have led to the publication of more than forty scientific papers with the purpose of improving the emergency response not only in his own country, Iran, but also in Europe.

Dr. Djalali was arrested in Iran in April 2016 and later convicted of espionage, with no material evidence provided, following a secret and hasty process led by Iran’s revolutionary court and without allowing any defence submission.

Dr. Djalali spent a period of long detention, with initially total and later partial isolation in Evin prison. For the entire period of imprisonment he was subjected to such heavy psychological torture, that he was forced, on two occasions, to record false confessions, reading what was prepared by the interrogators. Following a trial that took place behind closed doors and in violation of any minimum standard of legality, on 21 October 2017, he was sentenced to death for “corruption on earth” (Efsad-e fel-arz).

According to reports by the international scientific weekly journal Nature (23 October 2017), a source close to Djalali revealed, through a document presented as a literal transcription of a handwritten text produced by Djalali inside Evin prison, that in 2014 he was approached by agents of the Iranian military intelligence that asked him to collect information on Western chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear sites, as well as on critical infrastructures and counter-terrorism operational plans. The document states that Djalali believes he was arrested for refusing to spy for the Iranian intelligence service.

We, the signatories of this appeal, ask the EU to take an immediate action in order to obtain the suspension of the death sentence which, in a short time, can end the life of an innocent man, and to ensure that Ahmadreza Djalali can get access to prompt and appropriate medical care.


Thank you for your attention and response.



FIDU – Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani / Italian Federation for Human Rights

ACAT Germany (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)

Associazione Luca Coscioni per la libertà di ricerca scientifica

Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia

CRIMEDIM – Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine (Università del Piemonte Orientale)

ECPM – Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort


Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)

Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella”

International Academic Network for the Abolition of Capital Punishment (REPECAP)

Iran Human Rights

Legal Awareness Watch Pakistan

Nessuno Tocchi Caino / Hands Off Cain

Regroupement des Jeunes Africains pour la Démocratie et le Développement, Section Togo ( REJADD-TOGO)

Scholars at Risk Italy (SAR Italia)

Science for Democracy

Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights

SISM – Segretariato Italiano Studenti in Medicina APS

The Kenya Human Rights Commission


This appeal is also supported by:

Sen. Prof. Elena Cattaneo

Amb. Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy

Prof. Frederick Burkle. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University

Prof. Gregory Ciottone, President of Wadem – World Association of Disaster and Emergency Medicine

Prof. Francesco Della Corte, Director of CRIMEDIM

Prof. Johan von Schreeb, Director, Centre for Research on Health Care in Disasters Global Health at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden)

Prof. Ole Petter Ottersen, Rector of Karolinska Institutet (Sweden)

Prof. Dr. Gian Carlo Avanzi, Rector of Università del Piemonte Orientale (Italy)

Amb. Giuseppe Berlendi, Ambassador, Representative of Italy to the African Union

Prof. Antonio Cuerda Riezu, Campus de Madrid-Vicálvaro (Spain)

Pia Elda Locatelli, former MEP, former Italian MP (Italy)

Tonina Cordedda, Vicesegretaria Associazione Luca Coscioni (Italy)

Heidi Mertes, Assistant professor in Medical Ethics at Ghent University (Belgium)

Dr Rowena Christiansen, Founder of the Ad astra vita project (Australia)

Shari Caputo, RN, MSN, CCNE, Assistant Teaching Professor, Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia (Canada)

Irene Maria Antunes Pereira, MD, MSc DM EMDM (Portugal)

Pieter van der Torn, arts n.p., D. Env. (Netherlands)

Awsan Bahattab, research fellow at CRIMEDIM – UPO (Italy)

Fereshteh Pourazari, researcher at RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden)

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