Sweden urges Iran to release 'EU diplomat' held over 500 days

Sweden urges Iran to release ‘EU diplomat’ it has held over 500 days after he went to Tehran for a holiday with friends

  • An EU diplomat captured by Iran has been named as Johan Floderus, 33
  • He has been held in a notorious Iranian prison for over 500 days
  • His case was kept under wraps since he was detained in April 2022 

Sweden has urged Iran to release one of its nationals, who works as an EU diplomat, from prison, claiming that he’s been arbitrarily held for over 500 days. 

Sweden’s foreign ministry says that it is working ‘very intensively’ on the case of Johan Floderus, a 33-year-old native Swede who works for the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic arm. 

His case has been kept under wraps since April 2022, when he was arrested in Iran’s capital, Tehran, while on holiday with some Swedish friends, but was first reported by the New York Times on Monday. 

He was arrested on April 17 2022 at an airport in Tehran while making his way back home. 

The native Swede, who held several positions in EU institutions, and was even featured in an advertising designed to encourage young Swedish people to work for the EU, is now reportedly being held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

Johan Floderus (pictured), a 33-year-old native Swede who works for the European External Action Service has been named for the first time

He is believed to be held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran

Evin is known for being the home of most of Iran’s political prisoners since 1972

The site has been home to Iran’s politican prisoners since 1972. 

It even has a wing nicknamed ‘Evin University’ due to the sheer number of intellectuals and students forcibly kept there. 

Neither the Swedish authorities nor the European Union have confirmed the detainee’s identity.

But Johan’s family said in a statement: ‘We, Johan’s family, are deeply worried and in despair. Johan was suddenly and without reason deprived of his liberty on a vacation trip and has been in an Iranian prison for more than 500 days.’

‘We know that many are working hard to get him free and we are grateful for that. At the same time, every day is a huge trial, for us and above all for Johan. He must be released and allowed to come home immediately.’

Iran announced in July last year it had arrested a man on suspicion of espionage, but has so far not commented on the revelation of Floderus’ name. 

His arrest comes after Iran allegedly held several more people in arbitrary detention.

A Belgian aid worker who was imprisoned on espionage charges until May seemingly referenced Floderus shortly after he was released. 

Olivier Vandecasteele referred to a Swedish cellmate of his in the Evin prison. 

‘We became like brothers. We promised each other that we would do everything for each other and whoever came out first would help each other’s family and loved ones,’ he told music lovers at a festival held in his honour.

Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker who was held in Iran for six years on false charges of espionage, told the New York Times: ‘This arrest in 2022 was a real escalation. It is shocking for me that the Swedish government and the E.E.A.S. have sat on it.’ 

‘A Swedish citizen – a man in his thirties – was detained in Iran in April 2022. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran are working very intensively on the case and are maintaining close contact with the EU,’ Sweden’s foreign ministry said in an e-mail.

‘The Swedish citizen has been arbitrarily deprived of his freedom and should therefore be released immediately.’

The ministry added it was in daily contact with the detained man’s family.

‘We are aware and have been following very closely the case of a Swedish national detained in Iran,’ a European Commission spokesman said.

‘We are in a very close touch with the Swedish authorities who have the consular responsibility.

‘This case has also to be seen in the context of the growing number of arbitrary detentions involving EU citizens.

‘We have used and will continue to use every opportunity to raise the issue with the Iranian authorities to achieve – in close cooperation with the member states involved – the release of all arbitrarily detained EU citizens.’

MailOnline has contacted Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affair, and the European External Action Service for comment. 

Source: Read Full Article