Prisoner Exchange; Hamid Nouri Released from Prison and Returned to Iran

The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, announced on Saturday that Hamid Nouri had been exchanged for Johan Floderus, a Swedish diplomat imprisoned in Iran. In this prisoner swap, Saeed Azizi, a dual Iranian-Swedish citizen, was also released.

Hamid Nouri was arrested in Sweden for crimes against humanity in the summer of 1988 and the massacre of political prisoners. During this period, his detention was extended several times by a Swedish court. On July 14, 2022, a Swedish court charged Hamid Nouri with “gross and criminal violation of international law (equivalent to war crimes) and premeditated murder,” and he was found guilty on both counts. Ultimately, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay compensation to the survivors and families of the victims of the 1988 executions.

Nouri was a prosecutor at Evin and Gohardasht prisons in Karaj in 1988. That summer, thousands of political prisoners in Iran were executed by the regime and secretly buried in mass graves.

Regarding Johan Floderus, an employee of the European Union’s foreign policy department, the Swedish government and the European Union had previously demanded the “immediate” release of this Swedish citizen from prison, calling his detention “arbitrary.” He faced several court sessions with charges such as “corruption on earth by a wide scale organizing act against the country’s security and territorial integrity, and collaborating with the Zionist occupying regime,” as well as “gathering and conspiring to commit crimes against national security.”

Saeed Azizi, a 63-year-old Iranian-Swedish citizen who was released along with Floderus, was arrested by security forces at his home in Tehran on November 12, 2022, during a trip to Iran. He was later sentenced to five years in prison by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari.

Iranian-Swedish Dual National Ahmad Reza Jalali Facing Execution

Ahmad Reza Jalali, currently held in Evin Prison, is confronting the threat of execution.

Arrested by security forces in May 2016, he was subsequently sentenced to death on charges of “spying.” The Supreme Court affirmed the verdict in the following year, and last year, the then-judiciary’s spokesperson, Zabihollah Khodaian, announced the finalization of this sentence.

While addressing the potential prison swap between Jalali and Hamid Nouri during a press conference, Khodaian asserted that “these two issues are not related, and there is no ongoing discussion about such a swap.” However, Amnesty International stated in a release that Iran’s authorities are using the threat of Jalali’s execution as leverage for the proposed prison swap.

Professor Jalali, invited to Iran by the University of Tehran in May 2016, was arrested on charges of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through espionage for Israel.” Moharebeh, interpreted as “waging war against God,” is a component of Sharia Law typically applied to those suspected of involvement in acts against the state. The Tehran Prosecutor accused him of “transferring information about confidential projects in research, military, defense, and nuclear fields in exchange for citizenship for him and his family from Sweden.”

Arrest of Swedish National in Iran Raises Concerns Amidst String of Arbitrary Detentions

The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has disclosed the recent arrest of a Swedish national in Iran within the past two weeks.

The detainee, whose identity remains undisclosed, was apprehended in the early days of the new year and is currently held in custody. The Ministry revealed that the individual is a resident of the central regions of the country.

“The embassy in Tehran is in contact with local authorities. The Foreign Ministry is in contact with relatives in Sweden,” as reported in an email statement to Reuters.

This arrest is part of a concerning trend of arbitrary detentions of foreign citizens by the Iranian regime. It comes in the wake of the trial and life sentence conviction of former IRGC official Hamid Nouri in Sweden for his involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988. Notably, another Swedish national, Johan Floderus, was arrested by the Iranian regime in April 2022 and is presently on trial, facing espionage charges. The situation underscores growing international apprehension regarding the safety of foreign nationals in Iran.

Swedish Johan Floderus Faces Indictment in Iran

The Iranian Judiciary spokesperson has announced the indictment of Swedish Diplomat Johan Floderus, as reported by Mizan, the judiciary’s news agency.

In a press conference, Setayeshi revealed that Floderus’s case has been forwarded to the court.

In April 2022, Floderus visited Iran. As he was departing Iran on April 16, 2022, he was detained by the Ministry of Intelligence at the airport on charges of espionage.

In July, the Ministry of Intelligence issued a statement asserting that Floderus had made multiple trips to Iran. During his last visit, he was allegedly on a mission to uncover the identity of another spy who had been apprehended in Iran. Intelligence agents monitored his communications and, after accumulating evidence, arrested him under a warrant issued by the judiciary.

It is worth noting that on May 6, 2022, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed his detention in Iran. The Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet described his arrest as a retaliatory move by Iran’s regime in response to the trial of Hamid Nouri, a prominent figure involved in the 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners. Nouri had been arrested in November 2019 in Sweden and subsequently convicted of crimes against humanity.

Hamid Nouri Sentenced to Life Imprisonment by Swedish Court

A Swedish court sentenced former IRGC official Hamid Nouri to life imprisonment for his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988. At the time, Nouri was working as the assistant to the Deputy Prosecutor of Rajai Shahr Prison. In 2019, Nouri was arrested upon arrival at the airport in Sweden for committing crimes against humanity under the rules of universal jurisdiction.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on July 15, 2022, Hamid Nouri was sentenced to life in prison by a Swedish court for “crimes against humanity (war crimes) and murder.”

As the assistant to the deputy prosecutor, Nouri had an important role in the execution of thousands of political prisoners between July and September of 1988.

On November 9, 2019, Nouri was arrested upon arrival at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.

At least 60 witnesses and 12 experts testified in his trial.

In an interview, a former Iranian Judge, who was the head of the so-called Death Committee at that time, justified these atrocities as “a necessary action against conspirators’ plots.”

In 1988, by the direct order of Iran’s former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, a committee (later known as the Death Committee), including current President Ebrahim Raisi, was established to execute thousands of political prisoners.

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Swedish Tourist Arrested in Iran

A Swedish newspaper reported the arrest of a Swedish tourist in Iran. According to this report, he had travelled to Iran on a tour.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Swedish newspaper  Aftonbladet, a Swedish citizen was arrested while he was leaving Iran.

Without revealing the individual’s identity, this newspaper mentioned that he is about 30 years old and speculated the arrest is the Iranian regime’s attempt to retaliate against the ongoing trial of Hamid Nouri, who has been accused of complicity in the mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s. In November 2019, Hamid Nouri was arrested in Sweden and indicted for a “crime against humanity.”

Reza Pishro Released on the Bail

HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Reza Naseri Azad, nicknamed Reza Pishro, rap singer in Iran, who had been arrested by security forces on February 21 was released on the bail.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Reza Pishro is an Iranian singer and one of the first Persian rappers who had been arrested along with his program director, Hamid Nouri, by security forces on February 21. He was released on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Continue reading “Reza Pishro Released on the Bail”

Reza Pishro and His Program Director Arrested in Tehran

HRANA News Agency – Reza Pishro Iranian Rapper and his program director Hamid Nouri were arrested.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Reza Pishro, an Iranian singer and one of the first Persian rappers and his program director, Hamid Nouri, were arrested, on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Continue reading “Reza Pishro and His Program Director Arrested in Tehran”