Iran, Sweden exchange prisoners

Published June 16, 2024
Johan Floderus, after being imprisoned in Iran, is reunited with his family at Arlanda Airport, in Stockholm, Sweden on 15 June 2024. — TT News Agency via Reuters
Johan Floderus, after being imprisoned in Iran, is reunited with his family at Arlanda Airport, in Stockholm, Sweden on 15 June 2024. — TT News Agency via Reuters

STOCKHOLM: Sweden and Iran carried out a prisoner exchange on Saturday, officials said, with Sweden freeing a former Iranian official convicted for his role in a mass execution in the 1980s while Iran rele­ased two Swedes being held there.

The prisoner swap was mediated by Oman, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “Omani efforts resulted in the two sides agreeing on a mutual release, as those released were transferred from Teh­r­an and Stockholm,” it said.

Sweden had freed former Iranian official Hamid Noury, Iran’s top human rights official said on X. Noury, who had been convicted for his part in a mass execution of political prisoners in Iran in 1988, would be back in Iran shortly, the official added.

Separately, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a statement that Swedish citizens Johan Floderus and Saeed Azizi who had been detained in Iran were on a plane back to Sweden.

“Iran used them both as pawns in a cynical negotiations game with the purpose of getting the Iranian citizen Hamid Noury rele­ased from prison in Swe­den.

Noury, 63, was arrested at a Stockholm airport in 2019 and later sentenced to life in prison for war crimes for the mass execution and torture of political prisoners at the Gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran, in 1988. He denied the charges.

Lawyer Kenneth Lewis, who represented a dozen plaintiffs in the Noury case in Sweden, said his clients were not consulted and were “appalled and devastated” over Noury’s release.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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