Iranian justice has accused the Swede Johan Floderus, a European Union (EU) diplomat detained in Iran for more than 600 days, of having cooperated with Israel “against the security” of the Islamic Republic.
Wearing the pale blue prison uniform and arriving handcuffed, the 33-year-old Swede appeared for the first time since his arrest in April 2022 in photos published on Sunday by the Judicial Authority agency.
His trial began behind closed doors on Saturday before Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court with the reading of the charges against him, which had not until now been revealed. The accused was surrounded by his lawyers and a translator.
Johan Floderus is on trial for “corruption on earth” and for participating in “acts against the security of Iran, through extensive intelligence cooperation with the Zionist regime,” according to the Mizan Judicial Authority agency. Online. “Corruption on earth” is one of the most serious charges in Iran and carries the death penalty.
Johan Floderus is “innocent” and “there is absolutely no reason to keep him in detention”, reacted Sunday the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, by once again calling for his “immediate release” .
The same request was made by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom, who announced the start of the trial on Saturday. “There is no basis for keeping Johan Floderus in detention, let alone bringing him to justice,” according to him.
The Swede, who works for the EU diplomatic service, was arrested on April 17, 2022 at Tehran airport, as he was preparing to return home after a trip with friends.
He has since been detained in Evin prison in Tehran, where many opponents of the Iranian government are incarcerated.
According to the prosecutor’s representative, “the accused was active against the Islamic Republic in the field of intelligence collection for the benefit of the Zionist regime, in the form of projects (aimed at) overthrowing the Islamic Republic (led by) institutions American, Israeli and European, known to be active “against Iran”.
“Among his other actions are trips to occupied Palestine, communication with agents” of Israel and “gathering intelligence on the programs of the Islamic Republic, which have nothing to do with the professional field of the accused “, he added.
After the indictment was read, the trial was adjourned until a future hearing, the date of which has not been announced.
Governments, human rights groups and families of foreign detainees in Iran accuse Tehran of practicing “hostage diplomacy” – bargaining to obtain concessions from other countries.
Iran is insistently demanding the release by Sweden of an Iranian, Hamid Noury, sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in mass executions of thousands of opponents by the Iranian government in 1988. The Court of Appeal The Swedish court is expected to announce the verdict in the case on December 19.
Relations between Tehran and Stockholm further deteriorated in May after the execution of Iranian-Swedish dissident Habib Chaab, convicted of “corruption on earth” after his kidnapping in Turkey in October 2020.
Another Iranian-Swede, academic Ahmadreza Djalali, arrested in Iran in 2016 and sentenced to death on similar charges, remains under threat of execution.
Several other Europeans are detained in Iran, including four French people. One of them, Louis Arnaud, was sentenced in November to five years in prison for propaganda and endangering the security of the Iranian state. His conviction was deemed “unacceptable” by Paris.
The start of Mr. Floderus’ trial coincides with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday in Oslo to Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned in her country.
The Sakharov Prize for Human Rights is to be awarded on Tuesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg posthumously to Mahsa Amini, whose death provoked a vast protest movement in Iran at the end of 2022.
This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com