death penalty (illustration)
death penalty (illustration) iStock

Iran intends to execute an Swedish-Iranian doctor convicted of spying for Israel despite international criticism, a court spokesperson announced Tuesday.

Ahmadreza Djalali, a disaster medicine researcher, was arrested in 2016 during an academic visit to Iran and put on trial on suspicion of espionage for Israel's Mossad spy agency. He was convicted a year later and sentenced to death.

Last week, the Iranian government announced that Djalali would be executed by the end of this month.

Iranian court spokesman Zabihullah Khodian stated Tuesday that Djalali's execution would indeed be carried out and ruled out the possibility that he would be exchanged for an Iranian imprisoned in Sweden.

"Djalali was sentenced to death on several charges and the verdict is final. The sentence will be carried out," said Khodian.

The announcement last week of Djalali’s looming execution came as former Iranian prosecutor Hamid Noury faced a life sentence in Sweden for international war crimes and human rights abuses. Noury was arrested by Swedish authorities in 2019, according to Reuters.

Swedish prosecutors have accused Noury of involvement in the government sanctioned murder of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 held at Gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran.

Khodian called the two cases "unrelated"" and stated that Noury's arrest and trial was "political."

Sweden has condemned the death sentence against Djalali, and in 2021,a panel of UN human rights experts stated that Iran must immediately release Djalali.

"Djalali's situation is truly horrific," said the group, made up of experts on the rights situation in Iran, on extrajudicial executions, on arbitrary detention and on torture.

"He has been held in prolonged solitary confinement for over 100 days with the constant risk of his imminent execution laying over his head," they said in a statement.

"There is only one word to describe the severe physical and psychological ill-treatment of Djalali, and that is torture."

Djalali has denied the charges against him and has maintained that his arrest was due to his refusal to spy for Iran. He has claimed that his confession was given under torture and threats to kill his children, who live in Sweden.