UN, Amnesty call on Iran to halt execution 

UN, Amnesty call on Iran to halt execution 
The UN and Amnesty International have called on Tehran to halt its imminent execution of Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali, saying he was subjected to an unfair trial involving torture. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 November 2020

UN, Amnesty call on Iran to halt execution 

UN, Amnesty call on Iran to halt execution 
  • Djalali has been denied medical treatment despite likely suffering from leukaemia
  • The academic’s confession was extracted using torture, experts warn

LONDON: The UN and Amnesty International have called on Tehran to halt its imminent execution of Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali, saying he was subjected to an unfair trial involving torture.
Djalali was sentenced to death for espionage in 2017. His sentence has been upheld despite evidence that his conviction involved forced confessions extracted using torture, including threats to execute him and his family.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention revealed in 2017 that he was arbitrarily detained and denied access to a lawyer throughout his trial.
The group called for his immediate release. During lengthy periods in solitary confinement since then, he has been denied medical treatment despite likely suffering from leukaemia.
In a letter written from Evin prison in 2017, Djalali said he was detained because he refused to use his connections in European academia to spy for Iran.
Later that year, an Iranian state-run TV channel aired his “confession” that included commentary referring to him as a foreign spy.
Djalali phoned his wife on Tuesday saying it would be his “last farewell,” sparking fears that he faces imminent execution.
He reportedly told her that he would be sent to solitary confinement in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, a notorious facility used by Tehran to execute political prisoners.
UN human rights experts said: “We are horrified by the reports that Djalali is soon to be executed by Iran. His torture, arbitrary detention, death sentence and now reported imminent execution are unconscionable acts that should be condemned by the international community in the strongest terms. We urge the Iranian authorities to take immediate action to reverse this decision before it is too late.”
They added: “The decision to execute Djalali is completely reprehensible. On several counts, this would be a clear and serious violation of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law, especially the right to life. We urge Iran to stop this execution immediately.”
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “We were horrified to learn that the authorities have instructed the office in charge of implementing sentences to transfer Ahmadreza Djalali to solitary confinement and implement his death sentence no later than a week from Nov. 24.”
She added: “It is appalling that despite repeated calls from UN human rights experts to quash his death sentence and release him, Iranian authorities have instead decided to push for this irreversible injustice. They must immediately halt any plans to execute Djalali and end their shocking assault on his right to life.
“We call on members of the international community to immediately intervene, including through their embassies in Tehran, to save Ahmadreza Djalali’s life before it is too late.”


Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia
Updated 29 min 30 sec ago

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia
  • Malka Leifer had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014
  • She faces 74 charges of child sex abuse that she allegedly committed while teaching in Melbourne

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a woman wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse in Australia, following a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments.
Malka Leifer, a former teacher accused of sexually abusing several former students at a Jewish school in Melbourne, had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014. Leifer maintains her innocence and the protracted court case and repeated delays over her extradition drew criticism from Australian officials as well as the country’s Jewish leaders.
Israeli media photographed Leifer boarding a plane at Ben Gurion Airport early Monday, her ankles and wrists shackled. Her lawyer, Nick Kaufman, confirmed the extradition.
The Hebrew-language news site Ynet reported that she boarded a flight to Frankfurt, where she would transfer to another flight bound for Australia.
Her departure was timed so that she left the country before Israel’s shutdown of the airport at midnight due to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
In December, the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against her extradition, and Israel’s justice minister signed the order to send her to Australia.
Leifer faces 74 charges of child sex abuse that she allegedly committed while teaching in Melbourne.
As accusations against her began surfacing in 2008, Israeli-born Leifer left the school and returned to Israel, where she has lived since.
Critics, including Leifer’s alleged victims, had accused Israeli authorities of dragging out the case for far too long, while Leifer claimed she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Last year, an Israeli psychiatric panel determined Leifer was lying about her mental condition, setting in motion the extradition.
Avi Nissenkorn, Israel’s former justice minister who had signed the extradition order, wrote on Twitter: “I promised that I would not hinder the extradition order, and that’s what I have done. Malka Leifer’s victims will finally earn an act of justice.”
Manny Waks, head of Voice against Child Sex Abuse, an organization representing Leifer’s victims, said in a statement that “this is an incredible day for justice!”
“We can now truly look forward to Leifer facing justice in Australia on the 74 charges she is facing,” he said.