Floderus is on trial for “corruption on earth”, one of the most serious charges in Iran, which carries the death penalty.
Iran’s judiciary has accused the Swede Johan Floderus, a European Union (EU) diplomat detained in Iran for more than 600 days, of collaborating with Israel “against the security” of the Islamic Republic.
Dressed in the pale blue uniform worn by prisoners and handcuffed, the 33-year-old Swede appeared in photographs released by the Judiciary on Sunday for the first time since his arrest in April 2022.
His trial began behind closed doors at Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court on Saturday with the reading of the charges against him, which had not been made public until now.
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 Iranian judiciary agency Mizan Online.
“Corruption on earth” is one of the most serious charges in Iran and carries the death penalty.
His trial begins at the same time as Iran is pressing Sweden to release Hamid Noury, an Iranian citizen sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1988 mass executions of thousands of opponents by the Iranian government.
The Swedish Court of Appeal is due to announce its verdict in the case on 19 December.
“Floderus is innocent and there is absolutely no reason to keep him in custody”, EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell reacted on Sunday, once again calling for his “immediate release”.
The same call was made by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom, who announced the start of the trial on Saturday. “There is no reason to keep Johan Floderus in custody”.
A tourism trip
The Swede, who works for the EU diplomatic service, was arrested on 17 April 2022 at Tehran airport as he was preparing to return home after a trip with friends.
He has since been held in Tehran’s Evin prison, where many opponents of the Iranian government are detained.
According to the prosecutor’s representative, “the defendant was active against the Islamic Republic in the field of intelligence gathering for the benefit of the Zionist regime in the form of projects (aimed at) overthrowing the Islamic Republic (led by) American, Israeli and European institutions known to be active against Iran”.
“His other actions included travelling to occupied Palestine, communicating with Israeli agents” and “gathering information on the Islamic Republic’s programmes, which had nothing to do with the defendant’s professional field”, he added.
Following the reading of the indictment, the trial was adjourned until a further hearing, the date of which has not yet been announced.
EU citizens in Iranian prisons
Governments, human rights groups and families of foreign prisoners in Iran accuse Tehran of engaging in “hostage diplomacy” – bargaining to extract concessions from other countries.
Relations between Tehran and Stockholm deteriorated further in May after the execution of Iranian-Swedish dissident Habib Chaab, who was convicted of “corruption on earth” after being kidnapped in Turkey in October.
Another Iranian-Swedish citizen, academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who was arrested in Iran in 2016 and sentenced to death on similar charges, remains under threat of execution.
Several other Europeans are being held in Iran, including four French citizens. One of them, Louis Arnaud, was sentenced in November to five years in prison for propaganda and undermining Iranian state security. His sentence was described by Paris as ‘unacceptable’.
The start of Floderus’ trial coincides with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi in Oslo on Sunday.
The Sakharov human rights prize will be awarded posthumously on Tuesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to Mahsa Amini, whose death sparked a huge protest movement in Iran.
Source » euronews