Visiting Professor Sentenced to Death in Iran


Writing for University World News, Brendan O’Malley reports that Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali is facing a death sentence in Iran after being convicted of spying for Israel.

At the time of his arrest and detainment, Djalali was teaching disaster medicine at two European universities—the Karolinkska Institute in Sweden and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. He was also a research associate at the Centre for Research and Education in Emergency and Disaster Medicine at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara, Italy. More specifically, his teaching and research has focused on enhancing hospitals’ responses to emergencies involving terrorist attacks, in particular those involving biological, chemical, and radiological agents.

Iranian-born, Djalali had been invited by Tehran University to teach as a visiting professor in a Master’s program in emergency medicine. He had previously accepted such invitations from Iranian institutions without any apparent concerns about his activities.

His case has attracted the attention of both the Committee of Concerned Scientists and Scholars at Risk. The Iranian government has refused to divulge the evidence against him, though it has revealed that he signed a confession. Given that Djalali has not been allowed to choose his defense counsel, that he has been held for long periods in solitary confinement and has been denied most outside communications, and that he has been subjected to psychological coercion, there seems to be strong evidence that his confession was not voluntary.

Nature has reported that Djalali has been accused of accepting funding, research projects, and academic appointments arranged by the Israeli intelligence services in return for his recurrent spying on Iran.

Nature has also reported the counter-accusation, based on a document smuggled out of the prison in which Djalali has been held, that the charges against him were a response to his rejection of an effort by the Iranian intelligence services to coerce him into spying on European agencies responsible for counter-terrorism planning.


Brendan O’Malley’s complete article is available at:


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