The Iranian authorities are threatening to execute scientist and VUB guest lecturer Ahmadreza Djalali before 21 May. On Tuesday 17 May, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université libre de Bruxelles and Amnesty International are calling for a mass protest against his impending execution and for his immediate release.
“More than 130,000 people in Belgium have already spoken out for the release of Ahmadreza Djalali through petitions and other means. However, the threat of execution has never been more acute. Dr Djalali’s life is currently hanging by a thread,” says Wies De Graeve, director of Amnesty International Flanders.
“It is crucial to show the Iranian authorities now that we demand the release of Dr Djalali. We therefore call on everyone who has spoken out against the detention, death penalty and execution of Dr Djalali in recent years to join us in making noise to change the minds of the Iranian authorities.”
The action will take place on the ULB campus on Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, opposite the Iranian embassy.
Representatives of ULB, VUB and Amnesty International will address the supporters, students and university staff present. Belgian members of parliament, who have adopted motions calling for Dr Djalali’s release, have also been invited.
- When? Tuesday 17 May, from 17.30.
- Where? On the ULB campus, in front of the Janson Auditorium, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 48, Brussels.
- Who? Annemie Schaus, rector of ULB; representatives of VUB; Prof Gerlant van Berlaer, friend and colleague of Dr Djalali; Wies De Graeve, director of Amnesty International Flanders; Philippe Hensmans, director of the French-speaking section of Amnesty International Belgium.
- What? Mass protest against the imminent execution of Ahmadreza Djalali and for his immediate release.
Dr Djalali specialises in disaster medicine and was arrested in April 2016 during a working visit to Iran and charged with espionage. For the first 10 days, no one knew where he was being held. In late October 2017, he was sentenced to death after a manifestly unfair trial. He was forced to confess by means of psychological torture and spent the first three months of his detention in solitary confinement. His lawyer was not allowed to visit him until seven months after his arrest.
In Belgium, more than 130,000 people have already signed Amnesty International’s petition calling for the death penalty to be lifted and for his release. In early May 2022, several Iranian media reported on a decision by the Iranian authorities to execute Dr Djalali before the end of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht, which corresponds to 21 May. Read here how Dr Djalali ended up in prison.
For more information, contact the Amnesty International Flanders press office on 0486 75 55 10.