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Iran court upholds death sentence of Iranian-Swedish dissident

Habib Farajollah Chaab was convicted of allegedly leading a group that bombed a military parade in Ahvaz in 2018.

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of an Iranian-Swedish dissident for alleged “terrorist” activities, indicating that he could soon be executed.

The official news outlet of Iran’s judiciary announced on Sunday that Habib Farajollah Chaab’s death sentence had been confirmed for leading an Arab separatist group called the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz.

A lower court had in early December handed down the death penalty for “corruption on earth”. Iran does not formally recognize the status of dual nationality.

The group has launched many “terrorist” operations on Iranian soil, according to the judiciary’s website, resulting in many deaths and injuries, including a 2018 attack on a military parade that killed 25 people and injured nearly 250 .

Iran said in 2020 that its security forces had arrested Sweden-based Chaab in Turkey and taken him to Tehran, without saying where or how he was captured.

“Chaab was sentenced to death after several court hearings in the presence of his lawyer… The Supreme Court upheld his death sentence,” Iran’s judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported.

Souring relationships

Iran’s relations with Sweden have increasingly deteriorated in recent years, in part due to the cases of Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian official jailed in Sweden for alleged human rights abuses, and Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish researcher imprisoned in Tehran for espionage charges.

Chaab is not the only person imprisoned in Iran for ties to the Arab separatist group.

Last week, a court in Ahvaz sentenced six other men accused of belonging to the group to execution. It said they were “executing orders from their European-based leaders,” including Chaab.

The men were convicted of conducting separate “terrorist” operations between 2017 and 2019 that killed two members of the Basij paramilitary force in Abadan and a law enforcement officer and a military conscript in Khuzestan.