Wednesday, March 29th | 8 Nisan 5783

March 12, 2023 3:37 pm

Iran Upholds Death Sentence of Swedish-Iranian Arab Dissident

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avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

The flag of Sweden. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Iran’s supreme court has upheld the death sentence handed down to a Swedish Iranian dual national convicted of leading an Arab separatist group accused of attacks including one on a military parade in 2018 that killed 25 people, state media reported on Sunday.

Iran said in 2020 that its security forces arrested Sweden-based Habib Farajollah Chaab in Turkey and took him to Tehran, without saying where or how he was captured.

“Chaab was sentenced to death after several court sessions with the presence of his lawyer … The Supreme Court confirmed his death sentence,” Iran’s judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported.

In 2022, Iran started trial of Chaab on charges of leading the separatist Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, which seeks a separate state in the oil-rich Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran, and plotting and carrying out “numerous bombings and terrorist operations”.

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He was sentenced to death for being “corrupt on earth”, a capital offense under Iran’s strict form of Islamic law, Iranian state media said.

Sweden’s foreign ministry said its representatives had been in continual contact with Iran’s authorities about Chaab’s situation and had repeatedly requested permission to visit him and be present at the trial.

“The death penalty is an inhuman and irreversible punishment and Sweden, along with the European Union, condemns its use in all circumstances,” Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in an emailed statement.

“The foreign ministry and Sweden’s embassy in Tehran are working intensively to get further clarity about the information (of the confirmed sentence).”

The Islamic Republic has had tense relations with its ethnic minorities, which include Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluch, and has accused them of aligning with neighboring countries rather than Tehran.

Arabs and other minorities have long said they face discrimination in Iran, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

The confirmation of Chaab’s death sentence comes amid soured relations between Iran and Sweden over a Swedish court’s life time in prison sentence for a former Iranian official for involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 in the Islamic Republic.

Iran has rejected former Iranian official Hamid Noury’s sentence as “baseless, distorted and fabricated”.

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