Swedish-Iranian Scientist Denied Medical Treatment for Demanding to be Transported With Dignity

Imprisoned dual national scientist Ahmadreza Djalali was prevented from leaving Evin Prison in Tehran for a scheduled medical appointment with a cancer specialist because he refused to wear a prison uniform. 

“During the past week he had two blood tests that showed his bone marrow cells have weakened, indicating a high possibility of leukemia,” his wife, Vida Mehrannia, said in an interview from Sweden with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 6, 2019.

“On the recommendation of the Evin Prison doctor, Ahmadreza was scheduled to see blood and cancer specialists in a hospital on Tuesday [February 5th] but he was prevented by the prison authorities from going because he objected to wearing prison clothes before being dispatched ” she added.

“It has been more than a year since Ahmadreza has become sick and extremely thin,” said his wife. “He and his family made so many requests that on November [16, 2018,] the authorities were finally forced to send him on an emergency basis by ambulance to a hospital where he underwent (stomach) surgery. But he still needs treatment.”

Arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents during a visit to Tehran on April 24, 2016, the Iranian-born Swedish physician and expert in disaster medicine was working at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm before his life was turned upside down.  

Djalali had visited Iran on invite by the University of Tehran. But he was sentenced to death for espionage charges that he has repeatedly rejected, arguing that he is actually being punished for refusing to spy for the Intelligence Ministry.

He is awaiting a decision on his appeal against his death sentence, which the UN has called on Iran to annul.

Djalali’s health has deteriorated significantly in prison, according to his wife. He appeared to have lost a substantial amount of weight in a photo of him that surfaced on social media in 2018.

In December 2018, 121 Nobel Laureates called on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to ensure that Djalali receives the “best possible medical care” and is “treated humanely and fairly.”