Iran’s foreign ministry has summoned Sweden’s ambassador to protest what it called the “illegal” imprisonment and trial of a former official accused of human rights abuses in 1988.
Swedish prosecutors had levelled “baseless and fabricated” accusations against the official, Hamid Nouri, and Iran, the foreign ministry told Stockholm’s newly-appointed envoy, Mattias Lentz, according to state-run IRNA.
The outlet also said Nouri’s trial had been influenced by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an opposition group which Iran considers a “terrorist” organisation due to a string of bombings in the 1980s, and attacks on Iranian soil during the Iran-Iraq War with support from former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
The Iranian foreign ministry also called for an end to what it described as a “political show” in Sweden’s courts, and for Nouri to be freed immediately.
The move comes days after Swedish prosecutors called for life imprisonment, which is the maximum sentence, for Nouri during his 89th court session.
Nouri was arrested in 2019 upon arrival at Stockholm airport, and his trial began in August 2021, after Swedish authorities invoked the principle of “universal jurisdiction”.
Prosecutors have said that the 61-year-old was a deputy prosecutor at Gohardasht Prison near Tehran in 1988, when political prisoners, many of them MEK members, are alleged to have been prosecuted and ultimately executed. They said he had an “active role” in the alleged human rights abuses.
Nouri and Iranian officials vehemently deny the charges, calling them completely fabricated.
Nouri’s family said in a statement on Sunday that he has been held in solitary confinement for more than two years. They added that they had been unaware of his whereabouts for some time following his arrest, and that they had been unable to see him since his imprisonment, despite repeated attempts.
Following the recent developments, the foreign ministries of Iran and Sweden have advised their citizens to refrain from making unnecessary trips to the other country.
This is the second time in a month that the Iranian foreign ministry has summoned a Swedish envoy. Last month, the Swedish embassy’s charge d’affaires was summoned after copies of the Quran were burned by Swedish far-right groups during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.