Iran executes Swedish-Iranian dual national

Habib Farajollah Chaab was sentenced to death over his role with a separatist group alleged to have carried out a deadly attack.

The Iranian flag flying on a pole against a blue sky.
Iranian media reported Iranian-Swedish dual national Habib Farajollah Chaab was executed on Saturday [File: Lisi Niesner/Reuters]

Iran executed a Swedish-Iranian dissident convicted of leading an Arab separatist group accused of attacks, including one on a military parade in 2018 that killed 25 people.

Habib Farajollah Chaab was sentenced to death for being “corrupt on earth”, a capital offence under Iran’s strict interpretation of Islamic law. State broadcaster IRIB reported his execution on Saturday.

“The death sentence for Habib Chaab … nicknamed Habib Asyud, the head of Harakat al-Nidal terrorist group … was executed today, Saturday morning,” the Iranian judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported.

Iran said in 2020 its security forces arrested Sweden-based Chaab in Turkey and took him to Tehran, without saying where or how he was captured.

‘Irreversible punishment’

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom reacted with “dismay” to Chaab’s execution, saying his government had pleaded with Iran not to carry it out.

“The death penalty is an inhuman and irreversible punishment and Sweden, together with the rest of the EU, condemns its application under all circumstances,” he said.

In March, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the Swedish-Iranian dissident’s death sentence for alleged “terrorist” activities related to the Arab separatist group known as the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, which seeks a separate state in the oil-rich Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran.

He was found guilty of plotting and carrying out “numerous bombings and terrorist operations”.

Iran has had tense relations with its ethnic minorities, which include Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluch, and has accused them of aligning with neighbouring countries. Arabs and other minorities have long complained of facing discrimination in Iran, an accusation Tehran denies.

Iranian authorities had accused Chaab of staging attacks since 2005 “under the protection of two spy services, including the Mossad and Sapo” — the Israeli and Swedish agencies, respectively.

Sweden had voiced concern over the case and had denounced the decision to execute Chaab as “inhumane”.

Stockholm’s ties with Iran have also soured over a Swedish court’s lifetime prison sentence for a former Iranian official for involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 in the Islamic Republic.

Iran executes more people yearly than any other nation except China, according to rights groups including Amnesty International.

Three dual nationals — including Chaab — have been sentenced to death or executed over security-related charges since the start of the year, according to the judiciary.

In January, Alireza Akbari, a former Iranian official with United Kingdom citizenship who had been convicted of espionage, was executed.

In April, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for German-Iranian Jamshid Sharmahd, 67, over his connection with a deadly mosque bombing in 2008.

Tehran insists all have gone through a proper judicial process.

At least 16 Western passport holders, most of them dual nationals, are currently jailed in Iran.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies