Today in Leipzig, the General Assembly of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) once again called on the Iranian leadership to revoke the death sentence against Swedish-Iranian scientist Dr Ahmadreza Djalali and to release him from prison immediately. University leaders expressed alarm at the news that the death sentence was scheduled to be carried out by 21 May. The information is considered very credible by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Scholars at Risk.
HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt has joined the broad international protest and once again appealed in an open letter to the Iranian leadership not to carry out the death penalty and to release Dr Djalali.
"International scientific cooperation is based on the standards of academic freedom and human rights," Alt told the General Assembly. "Iran is jeopardising the long tradition of German-Iranian university cooperation and is about to turn its back on the international academic community.
We will not stop fighting for Dr Djalali. The threat of Dr Djalali's execution and the curtailment of academic freedom in Iran are putting a tangible strain on university relations."
The HRK strongly supports the urgent call by Scholars at Risk, the international network for the protection of academics at risk, to send letters of support for Ahmadreza Djalali to the Iranian government and other institutions in order to influence the Iranian leadership.
Dr Djalali has been in Iranian custody since April 2016. In October 2017, the researcher, who lives in Sweden, was sentenced to death for “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz). Iran’s Supreme Court denied a request to review the verdict in February 2018. For some time now, Dr Djalali has been refused proper medical treatment despite it being strongly suspected that he may have leukaemia. Scholars at Risk has accused the Iranian security forces of torturing the researcher. Amnesty International has also reported attempts to force him to confess.
The HRK has already made several strong appeals to the Iranian government to release Ahmadreza Djalali.
You can find the open letter from HRK President Alt to the Iranian head of state, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for Download on the right.