Flemish PM asks Iranian leader Khamenei not to carry out execution of Djalali

Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon has asked the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, in a letter not to execute the Swedish-Iranian VUB guest professor Ahmadreza Djalali and to pardon him. Jambon said this on Friday in the Flemish parliament, where he was asked questions about the matter during the Foreign Policy Committee.

On 4 May, the Flemish parliament unanimously adopted a resolution against the execution of Djalali, guest lecturer at the Brussels VUB university, which was to be carried out by 21 May. The MPs now wanted to know what the Flemish government leader has done since then.

Earlier this week, in a phone call with the Iranian ambassador, Jambon "condemned the execution in the strongest possible terms" and asked for alternatives. In addition to his letter to Khamenei, Jambon also wrote Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo and the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, asking that the European Union step up pressure on Iran.

The Flemish PM acknowledged that he has little additional leverage to intervene further in the matter. He believes it is important, however, that continued attention be paid to Professor Djalali. "I am hoping for a strong signal from the European Union, with the help of prime minister De Croo".

If the execution is carried out anyway, "I will argue for additional sanctions at the European level", he announced.

On Tuesday 17 May, a protest will take place against Djalali's imminent execution. The initiative for this new protest action comes from VUB university, its Francophone counterpart Université libre de Bruxelles, and human rights organisation Amnesty International.




Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon stated in the Flemish parliament that he "condemned the execution in the strongest possible terms" during a phone call with the Iranian ambassador © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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