DUBAI: Iran said on Sunday that it had begun the trial of a Swedish national employed by the European Union who is charged with spying for Israel and “corruption on earth,” a crime that carries the death penalty.

Sweden said on Saturday that the trial had begun of Johan Floderus, who was detained in April 2022 while on holiday in Iran, but did not say what he was charged with.

The Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency said in an online report on Sunday that Floderus’s trial had begun and that he was indicted “based on corruption on earth, widespread activities against national security (and) wide intelligence cooperation with the Zionist regime”, a reference to Israel.

Corruption on earth is a capital offence under Iran’s Islamic laws.

The EU’s top foreign policy chief renewed calls on Iran to free a Swedish EU diplomat, adding Brus­sels was chasing more details.

“The EU continues to call for Johan Floderus to be freed immediately,” the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in a statement.

“I persistently raise the case at every occasion and contact with the Iranian authorities, since his detention, requesting his liberation,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2023

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