Iran accuses detained Swedish diplomat of ‘committing crimes’

The Swedish government has called on Iran to free Johan Floderus, a 33-year-old EU diplomat who is accused of committing crimes in Iran.

Iran accuses detained Swedish diplomat of 'committing crimes'
File photo of the Iranian embassy in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“This Swedish citizen has committed crimes in the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi said on Tuesday.

Last week, the European Union said Swedish diplomat Johan Floderus, a 33-year-old who works for the bloc, had been detained in Iran for more than 500 days.

Sayatashi said the Swede was sent “to prison with a legal order”.

He said an investigation into the case “is being finalised” and will be sent to the relevant court “in the coming days”.

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said last week that the bloc had been pushing “relentlessly” for the Swede’s release.

The Swedish government has also called on Iran to free Floderus.

Iran announced in July last year that it had arrested a Swede on suspicion of espionage.

The announcement came two weeks after an Iranian, Hamid Noury, was sentenced to life in prison in Sweden on charges related to killings of prisoners in Iran during the 1980s.

A Stockholm court had found Noury guilty of “aggravated crimes against international law” and “murder”.

Sayatashi said the case of two French nationals in custody on espionage charges had already been referred to court for trial.

Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris were arrested in May 2022 over accusations of seeking to stir labour unrest during industrial action by teachers.

In May this year, Belgian humanitarian worker Olivier Vandecasteele, 42, was released after 15 months’ custody in Iran on espionage charges.

Vandecasteele’s release took place in exchange for Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi, who was sentenced to 20 years for plotting to bomb an opposition rally in Paris.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Family of Swedish EU diplomat held in Iran call for his release

The family of a Swedish EU diplomat held captive in Iran for more than 500 days called Sunday for his immediate release, as he marked his birthday in a Tehran prison.

Family of Swedish EU diplomat held in Iran call for his release

“Today on Johan’s 33rd birthday, he should be with us celebrating… He should be released immediately and allowed to travel home,” the family of Johan Floderus wrote in a statement, releasing a picture of him taken during the only video call with his family he has been granted.

Floderus was arrested on April 17, 2022 at Tehran’s airport as he was returning home from a trip with friends.

The Swede, who had been working in Brussels for the EU delegation to Afghanistan as a programme officer since September 2021, is being held at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Iran announced in July last year that it had arrested a man on suspicion of espionage, two weeks after an Iranian citizen received a life jail term in Sweden for his role in the Iranian regime’s 1988 mass executions of thousands of opponents.

A Stockholm court found former Iranian prison chief Hamid Noury guilty of “aggravated crimes against international law” and “murder”.

Several capitals have accused Iran of practising “hostage diplomacy” — arresting Western nationals to obtain concessions such as the release of detained Iranians.

Floderus “has become yet another victim of Iran’s alarming pattern of taking foreign nationals hostage for political purposes,” his family said.

“The conditions under which Johan is held in prison, with 24-hour cell light, are unacceptable and in violation of the United Nations Standard
Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners,” his family said.

“His needs for adequate food rations, outside walks, medical checkups and much more are not respected,” they said, adding that he spent “over 300 days in solitary confinement.”

Floderus had been granted “very few” consular visits, the most recent six months ago, and has been allowed on average one short phone call a month since February 2023.

“He had to go on hunger strike to be allowed to make several of these calls, which have to be in English and monitored. They could be forcibly ended if subjects are ‘wrong’.”

The family said the one video call was granted on August 7 this year.

“In a desperate plea during the video call, Johan asked for more to be done in hope of his return home.”