Iran has accused a Swedish European Union diplomat held in prison of spying for Israel and committing “corruption on Earth” – a crime that carries the death penalty.

Johan Floderus, 33, was arrested on 17 April 2022 at the airport in Tehran while returning to Iran from a trip. He has spent over 600 days in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Iran on Sunday said it has begun the trial of the Swedish national employed by the EU for “having links with Israeli elements”, according to a report by Mizanonline news website, which is affiliated with the country’s judiciary.

The prosecutors accused the Swede of gathering information for Israel in the framework of projects through American, Israeli, and European institutes that were active against Iran.

The prosecutor claimed that Mr Floderus had traveled to Israel, worked with Swedish intelligence and transferred money to Iran for projects aimed at dismantling the government.

Judge Iman Afshari was asked to prosecute Mr Floderus based on articles of Iranian law that carry penalties from six months to capital punishment. The date of the next session will be decided later, the judge said.

The Swedish foreign ministry in a statement said Mr Floderus “has been arbitrarily detained and every accusation and charge is false”.

“We have conveyed this clearly to Iran at different levels and times, the most recent being yesterday [Saturday],” it told Reuters.

Iran’s intelligence ministry in 2022 said its agents arrested a Swede for spying, without revealing the person’s identity. Tehran claimed the man had been in touch with several European and non-European suspects in Iran, and had visited Israel, before returning to Iran.

The arrest took place weeks after Sweden sentenced an Iranian national, Hamid Nouri, to life in prison in July last year over the mass execution of dissidents in Tehran in 1988. The sentencing led to Iran recalling its ambassador from Sweden.

Mizanonline published photos of Mr Floderus in handcuffs appearing before judges in a pale blue prison uniform on Sunday.

His father, Matts, previously told The Guardian in an interview that the family were on tenterhooks as they waited to learn of the charges.

“We have reason to believe the trial will come soon, that it will be in December,” he said. “He told us he didn’t care what the verdict would be because it would mean the same thing whatever they decided to charge him with. It is just theatre, just make-believe.

“We are deeply worried and say this over and over again. He has been arbitrarily detained. He has done nothing wrong and should be freed and allowed to leave the country.”

Iran in May executed an Iranian-Swedish dual national, Farajollah Cha’ab, also known as Habib Asyoud, accused of masterminding a 2018 attack on a military parade that killed at least 25 people.

Source » independent