World Medical Association calls for visiting VUB professor's release from Iranian prison

The international doctors' association World Medical Association (WMA) has called for the release of Ahmadreza Djalali from prison in a letter to the Iranian government. The United Nations fears that the Iranian-Swedish professor, a specialist in disaster medicine and a visiting professor at the VUB university in Brussels, will soon be executed.

Djalali was arrested and sentenced to death in Iran in 2017 on charges of espionage - allegations that Stockholm said were totally unfounded. Before his arrest, he worked as a visiting professor at VUB.

In late December, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over Djalali's possible imminent execution. Concern over the professor's fate is linked to a trial in Sweden of Hamid Nouri, a former prison ministry official in Iran.

In a letter addressed to several Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and president Ebrahim Raisi, the WMA last week called for Djalali's "immediate and unconditional" release. The professor "is unanimously regarded as a specialist in disaster medicine who practised his profession peacefully", WMA president Lujain Al-Qodmani said. He called using the man's life as a "bargaining chip" as "despicable blackmail" and "shameful haggling".

'Inhumane treatment'

In addition, the organisation calls on the Iranian government and parliament to establish a moratorium on the death penalty.

Belgian doctors' association BVAS, which represents the country within the WMA, says it supports the call. "BVAS has a long ethical-humanitarian tradition of caring about the fate of persecuted doctors," the association said on Tuesday. "The inhumane treatment of our colleague and the death penalty hanging over his head are very serious violations of human rights."


Ahmadreza Djalali before (left) and two years after (right) his detention © BELGA PHOTO HAND OUT

Related news

Website preview
Belgium writes a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei against execution of Ahmadreza Djalali
Flemish prime minister Jan Jambon has discussed the imminent execution of Iranian professor Ahmadreza Djalali with the Belgian Ambassador of Irand, Mr. G. Hussein Dehgani. Jambon will also write a letter to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels