WMA urges immediate release of jailed physician

The World Medical Association has called on the Iranian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally an Iranian-born Swedish resident specialist in emergency medicine, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been sentenced to death for the charge of “corruption on earth”.

The WMA says it believes Dr. Djalali is a prisoner of conscience who has undergone solitary confinement and psychological torture since his detention in April 2016.

In a letter to the Chief Justice of Iran, Sadeq Ardeshir Larijani, the WMA President Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura says that Dr. Djalali’s most fundamental human rights have been denied.

‘Our sources confirm that there is no evidence demonstrating that Dr. Djalali is anything other than an academic peacefully pursuing his profession’.

Dr. Yokokura adds: ‘According to our sources, Dr. Djalali was sentenced to death after a trial not respecting the most basic international standards for a fair trial, in violation with the rule of law. We would like to remind you that the right to a fair trial is an international human right established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a State Party’.

Dr. Yokokura raises concern about Dr. Djalali’s conditions of detention and the allegations of torture. He reminds the Iranian authorities that evidence obtained under duress, torture, or as a result of forced “confessions” may not be used as evidence in court and urges them to conduct an independent, effective investigation into the allegations.

He says Dr. Djalali should have access to a lawyer of his choice, to his family, to the Swedish consulate and to a qualified health professional.

Finally, the letter urges the Iranian authorities to revoke the death sentence for Dr. Djalali.

‘The death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As such, it constitutes the ultimate denial of human rights, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used to kill the prisoner.

‘We therefore urge the Iranian authorities to consider establishing a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty and to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment’.