Iran begins trial of Swedish EU employee detained in 2022


  • World
  • Sunday, 10 Dec 2023

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - An Iranian court has begun the trial of a Swedish national employed by the European Union who was detained last year, Sweden's foreign minister said on Saturday.

"I have been informed that the trial of Johan Floderus has begun in Tehran," Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told Swedish news agency TT.

"The Swedish charge d'affaires was at the court but was refused the right to participate in the trial. Sweden has ... requested the right to be present when the trial resumes."

Floderus was detained in April 2022 while on holiday in Iran for what his family said was alleged spying. Billstrom did not specify what Floderus had been charged with.

Floderus' family has said he was detained "without any justifiable cause or due process."

Rights groups and Western governments have accused the Islamic Republic of trying to extract political concessions from other countries through arrests on security charges that may have been trumped up. Tehran says such arrests are based on its criminal code and denies holding people for political reasons.

Relations between Sweden and Iran have been tense since 2019 when Sweden arrested a former Iranian official for his part in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners in the 1980s. Hamid Noury was sentenced to life in prison last year, prompting Iran to recall its envoy to Sweden in protest.

In May, Iran executed a Swedish-Iranian dissident convicted of leading an Arab separatist group Tehran blames for a number of attacks including one on a military parade in 2018 that killed 25 people.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Conor Humphries)

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