Iran, Sweden exchange prisoners in Omani-mediated deal

Former Iranian official Hamid Nouri released in exchange for Swedish citizens Johan Floderus and Saeed Azizi.

People demonstrate outside the Stockholm District Court as they wait for the verdict in the case of Hamid Nouri in Stockholm, Sweden on July 14, 2022 [File: Simon Johnson/Reuters]By Al Jazeera StaffPublished On 15 Jun 202415 Jun 2024

Tehran, Iran – Iran and Sweden have completed an Omani-brokered prisoner swap that involves the release of a former Iranian official in exchange for a European Union diplomat and another Swedish-Iranian citizen.

The state-run Oman News Agency confirmed on Saturday that prisoners were transferred from Tehran and Stockholm to Muscat before being returned to their countries.

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Kazem Gharibabadi, the Iranian judiciary’s foreign relations chief, said on X that Hamid Nouri, who had been sentenced in Sweden to life in prison after being convicted of war crimes and murder committed in Iran in 1988, has been released.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson confirmed that Swedish national Johan Floderus and Iranian-Swedish Saeed Azizi were released by Tehran and are on their way back to the country.

The 33-year-old Floderus, a European Union diplomat, had been in detention for more than two years. His trial began in Iran in December on charges of spying for Israel that could have potentially carried the death penalty.

Azizi was imprisoned on national security charges carrying a five-year prison term.

Relations between Iran and Sweden have been on a downward spiral surrounding the case of Nouri, who was convicted in relation to his role surrounding the death of thousands of political prisoners as deputy prosecutor of Gohardasht Prison near Tehran.

The Iranian government maintained that Nouri’s trial was influenced by Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the foreign-based group that is considered a “terrorist” organisation by Iran for a string of bombings in the 1980s and allying with former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War.

A Swedish appeals court had upheld a life sentence for Nouri on December 19.

Iran also holds dual national Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been sentenced to death on spying charges.

Source: Al Jazeera