Sweden condemns Iran death sentence for Swedish-Iranian dissident

Sweden on Sunday condemned as “inhumane” a death sentence confirmed by Iran’s judiciary against a Swedish-Iranian dissident for “terrorism”, and said it was seeking further clarity on the matter.

“The death sentence is an inhumane and irreversible punishment and Sweden, together with the rest of the EU, condemns its use in all circumstances,”, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told AFP in an email.

His remarks came after the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said Iran’s Supreme Court had upheld a December 6 ruling against Habib Chaab, convicted of “corruption on earth” for heading a rebel group.

The decision comes eight months after a Swedish district court sentenced a former Iranian prison official, Hamid Noury, to life in prison for crimes committed during a 1988 purge of dissidents.

Tehran has repeatedly called for Noury’s release and dismissed last year’s verdict as “political”.

Chaab has meanwhile been held in Iran since October 2020 after he vanished during a visit to Turkey and was put on trial in Tehran — which does not recognize dual nationality.

Sweden’s foreign ministry and its embassy in Tehran “are now working intensively to get further clarity into the information,” Billstrom said.

Despite repeated requests, Stockholm has not been granted access to Chaab.

“The government has long been in regular contact with representatives for Iran,” Billstrom said.

“During these contacts we have sought clarity into Habib Chaab’s situation and we have repeated our demand to meet with him.”

“We have also expressed our concern over our citizen’s situation and asked permission to be present at the trial.”

Mizan Online said Chaab was sentenced for “the formation, management and leadership of a rebel group called Harakat al-Nidal, and the design and execution of numerous terrorist operations in Khuzestan province”.

Iran has accused Harakat al-Nidal of “cooperation with other terrorist groups” including in a 2018 attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, the Khuzestan provincial capital, that authorities said killed 25 people and wounded almost 250.

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