February 15, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world. We write today to express our support for Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish scholar and medical doctor who was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial.
We understand you are working on freeing Americans currently imprisoned in Iran, and we urge you to include Ahmadreza Djalali in your discussions. He faces imminent execution, and the group Scholars at Risk have arranged for his admission to Harvard University as a Fellow, for which he has been accepted.
Professor Djalali, an Iranian citizen who is currently a resident of Sweden, most recently taught Disaster Medicine in Italy for a Master’s Degree program organized jointly by the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy, and the Vrije University in Brussels, Belgium.
Arrested in April 2016, Professor Djalali was held in solitary confinement, denied access to a lawyer of his choice, tortured, and coerced into confessing to espionage, specifically spying on Iran for Israel. He was sentenced to death in October 2017, and his false confession was broadcast on television in December 2018. He believes he has been targeted because of his refusal to spy for the Iranian government.
Since his imprisonment, his health has suffered significantly. On November 24, 2020, he was informed that his execution was imminent. That execution date was postponed in late December, for one month, but he could still be put to death at any moment. Needless to say this has been very difficult for him and especially for his wife and young son.
Thank you for the work you are doing to free those unjustly imprisoned in Iran, many of whom are academics and scholars. We hope you will make freedom for Ahmadreza Djalali a top priority, particularly since he has a position waiting for him here in the United States.
We look forward to receiving your response and working with you in whatever way we can on behalf of Professor Djalali.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC. 20520