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Protest on Thursday against death penalty for VUB professor

14:09 11/12/2017

A protest will take place this Thursday at 18.00 in front of the Iranian Embassy in Brussels against the death sentence handed down to Ahmadreza Djalali last month in Iran. The protest follows news that emerged yesterday evening that Djalali’s lawyer never filed an expected appeal against the sentence.

The Iranian professor (pictured) lives in Sweden and is a visiting professor of disaster medicine at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He was imprisoned last year in Tehran for “collaboration with scientists from foreign enemy states”, including the US and Israel.

Djalali’s wife announced last month that her husband would resume his hunger strike, which he has carried out off and on since being arrested in April of 2016 while attending workshops at universities in Tehran and Shiraz.

‘Lawyer is colluding with judge’

It was expected that his lawyer would file an appeal to the death sentence, but his wife says now that that never happened. “The only explanation for this aberrance is that Djalali’s so-called lawyer is colluding with the judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Court,” says Gerlant van Berlaer, Djalali’s colleague at Brussels University Hospital.

The court, says van Berlaer, “has physically and psychologically tortured Djalali and not given him a fair or public trial before it sentenced him to death”.

Since Djalali’s imprisonment, academics from around the world have sought to intervene, and a petition has gathered 268,000 signatures. The protest this week takes place in front of the Iranian embassy at Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 15 in Ixelles.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw