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Source: AFP

Mar 6, 2024

Sweden's High Court Refuses Appeal Of Iran Ex-prison Official

By AFP - Agence France Presse

Sweden's Supreme Court said Wednesday it would not hear an appeal by a former Iranian prison official who was handed a life sentence for crimes committed during a 1988 purge of dissidents.

A Swedish district court in July 2022 sentenced Hamid Noury, 62, to life in prison "for grave breaches of international humanitarian law and murder."

An appeals court upheld the verdict in December 2023, which Noury then appealed to the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court has now decided not to grant leave to appeal. This means that the judgment of the Court of Appeal stands," the court wrote in a statement.

Noury was arrested at a Stockholm airport in November 2019 after Iranian dissidents in Sweden filed police complaints against him.

The case relates to the killing of at least 5,000 prisoners across Iran, allegedly ordered by supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini, to avenge attacks carried out by exiled opposition group the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) at the end of the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988.

Sweden tried Noury under its principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows it to try a case regardless of where the offences took place.

The district court had found that Noury had been an assistant to a prosecutor in a prison near Tehran at the time of the events and had "retrieved prisoners, brought them to the committee and escorted them to the execution site".

Noury has denied the charges and insisted the allegations against him were "fabricated."

The case was particularly sensitive, as rights activists accuse senior Iranian officials now in power -- including current President Ebrahim Raisi -- of having been members of the committees that handed down the death sentences.

The case has also strained relations between Sweden and Iran.

As Noury's lower court trial was under way in Stockholm in April 2022, Iran arrested Johan Floderus, a Swede working for the EU's diplomatic service, as he was returning from a trip to Iran with friends.

Floderus, 33, faces the death penalty in Iran on spying charges.

Governments, human rights groups and families of foreign nationals being held in Iran have accused Tehran of engaging in "hostage diplomacy".

Floderus's parents have urged the Swedish government to consider a prisoner swap, exchanging Noury for their son.

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