APS and AAAS Call for Justice for Scientist Sentenced to Death in Iran

COLLEGE PARK, MD, December 15, 2017 – Imprisoned Iranian physician and scientist, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, is facing imminent execution following a death sentence handed down in Iran after an unjust and irregular trial. American Physical Society (APS) President Laura Greene and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) President Susan Hockfield have issued a joint letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calling for justice for Djalali.

Iran’s Revolutionary Court charged Djalali with “collaboration with a foreign government,” and he was sentenced to death on October 21. The court gave Djalali twenty days to appeal the decision. However, Djalali’s attorney failed to file an appeal, leaving the execution order in place.

The letter in full that Greene and Hockfield are sending to Rouhani follows:

December 15, 2017

Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President
Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o H.E. Mr. Gholam Ali Khoshroo
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Dear President Rouhani,

We write on behalf of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to express our now urgent concern about the situation of imprisoned Iranian physician and scientist, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. Some weeks ago we expressed our unhappiness over the death sentence that had been handed down in a case fraught with irregularities, including the court’s refusal to allow Djalali to be represented by a lawyer of his own choosing.

Now we have learned that Djalali’s attorney never filed an appeal of his sentence, contrary to what he and his family had been told, and that the order has been given for the execution to proceed. There are many different concepts of justice in different legal systems. What has happened to Djalali offends against them all. Our common humanity calls out for fair treatment, which Djalali has not had. It seems that Iran may be about to put to death an innocent man. Mercy follows justice but Djalali has not even had justice.

APS, with 55,000 members, is the largest professional association of physicists in the United States. AAAS, with a 120,000 members is the largest, broadest scientific organization in the world. Both of our organizations are totally independent of the U.S. government, international in their membership, and have long championed open, international, scientific exchange as something necessary for the flourishing of science, itself. This international scientific exchange is mandated by multiple, international conventions and agreements, to which Iran and the United States are signatories. APS’s Committee on International Freedom of Scientists and AAAS’s Science and Human Rights Coalition are charged with monitoring threats to scientific freedom and human rights around the world. We share deep worries both about the well being of Dr. Djalali and about the implications of his possible execution for future, free and open, scientific exchange.

We therefore ask you to do all that is within your power to ensure that justice is done in this case.

Dr. Laura H. Greene, President
American Physical Society

Dr. Susan Hockfield, President
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Contact: James Riordon, APS, riordon@aps.org, (301) 209-3238

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world.