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 National Johan Floderus Faces Fourth Court Session While in Detention

On January 14, 2024, Mizan, the judiciary’s news agency, reported that Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, led by Judge Iman Afshari, conducted the fourth court session addressing the charges against detained Swedish citizen Johan Floderus.

The court session included the board of judges, the prosecutor’s representative, defense attorneys, an interpreter, and the Chargé d’affaires of the Swedish Embassy. Floderus is accused of various charges, including “spreading corruption on earth” and “espionage.”

After previously refuting the charges in the last session, Floderus responded to questions from the prosecutor’s representative during this court meeting.

Mizan reported that the proceedings focused on Floderus’ communications, including “documented” emails from his cell phone, his associations with the Swedish Ministry of Defense and Army, as well as his meetings with intelligence agents from several European countries. The defendant was also questioned about his motive for learning Farsi.

Furthermore, the prosecutor’s representative stated that no new charges or re-interrogations would be introduced.

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.

Trial Commences for Swedish National Johan Floderus

On December 10, 2023, Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court initiated proceedings in the trial of Johan Floderus, a Swedish citizen facing charges of “spreading corruption on earth” and “espionage,” as reported by Mizan, Iran’s judiciary news agency.

Presided over by Judge Iman Afshari, the court session saw Floderus, accompanied by his legal representative, contesting the array of charges leveled against him, which include “spreading corruption on earth” and “undermining national security by collaborating with Israel to gather intelligence.” Throughout the proceedings, the prosecutor asserted that Floderus had allegedly “established a network in Iran in conjunction with the Swedish Intelligence service, engaged in activism aimed at overthrowing the regime, disguised fund transfers to Iran as part of a project, traveled to Israel, and collaborated with Israeli Intelligence within the European Union.”

Floderus was formally indicted in November of the current year.

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.

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.