Iranian scholar sentenced to death on spying charge

Oct 29, 2017
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University World News
By Brendan O’Malley
Friday, 27 October 2017 

Nature reported that according to Djalali's wife Vida Mehrannia and Italian diplomatic sources, Djalali was accused of obtaining money, academic positions and research projects in exchange for spying on Iran for Israel. 

Shortly before the sentence was announced, a close contact of Djalali's circulated a document that claims to be a literal transcription of a handwritten text produced by Djalali inside Evin Prison. The document states that Djalali believes he was arrested for refusing to spy for the Iranian intelligence service, Naturereported.

The document stated that in 2014 two representatives of the Iranian military and intelligence service asked Djalali to spy on European countries for Iran – in particular, on “critical infrastructures, counter-terrorism and CBRNE [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives] capabilities, sensitive operational plans, and also research projects, relevant to terrorism and crisis”. It says he refused, Nature reported.

SAR reported that Djalali believes he has been targeted because of his ties to the international academic community.

The co-chairs of the Committee of Concerned Scientists – Joel L Lebowitz, Paul H Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M Chudnovsky and Alexander Greer – said in a statement: “We are unaware of any evidence supporting the accusations against him. It is very unclear to us why he has been targeted in this manner and we are extremely disturbed that Dr Djalali is at such grave risk of execution.”

SAR has urgently asked for anyone concerned to write emails, letters and faxes urging the Iranian authorities to reverse Djalali’s capital sentence immediately, to ensure his unconditional release from prison, and to drop all charges against him.

Djalali has two children aged five and 14.

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