Iranian VUB Professor faces death sentence

An Iranian Professor of Medicine that also teaches at Brussels’ Dutch-Medium Free University (VUB) has been arrested and sentenced to death in his home country. Professor Ahmadreza Djalali is accused of have “cooperated with hostile states such as the USA and Israel”. The Vice-Chancellor of the VUB Caroline Pauwels told VRT News that “we should put up strong resistance” to Professor Djalali’s detention and death sentence.

Professor Ahmadreza Djalali is linked to the VUB via the university’s master degree course and research group into disaster medicine that it runs in collaboration with the University of Navaro in Italy.

His Belgian colleagues contacted Professor Djalali’s wife when he failed to show at a lecture he was due to give at the VUB in May of last year. Initially Professor Djalali’s wife said that her husband had been involved in a road accident and that he was in a coma. However, in October it emerged that she had made the story up.

"Hostile states"

In fact the 45-year-old professor had been arrested in Iran while he was on his way home to his family. He was taken to Teheran where he was held in solitary confinement for seven months.

“All that we know through his wife is that he is accused of having worked with hostile states”, Vice-Chancellor Pauwels told VRT News. “However, they haven’t specified which states he is accused of having worked with”.