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Explainer: How was Hamid Nouri framed, jailed, tortured and freed after 1,680 days

By Press TV Website Staff

Hamid Nouri, an Iranian citizen and former judiciary official unlawfully sentenced to life imprisonment in Sweden over politically motivated charges, was freed and returned to Iran on Saturday after five years.

Upon his arrival, senior Iranian officials welcomed Nouri. He described his case as "extremely complicated, sensitive, and horrific," and expressed gratitude to God and the country's authorities for his release after 1,680 days in the Swedish captivity.

"The case took a long time, and I have said in a letter to my family that only God can release me, like when God liberated Khorramshahr," he said, referring to the liberation of the southwestern city from Saddam Hussein's invading army in May 1982 during the Iran-Iraq war.

Nouri also sent a message to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group, which brought the case against him in the Swedish court, and to the "child-killing" Israeli regime, both of whom had "high hopes" for his conviction.

"I have another message for the miserable, displaced, traitor MKO terrorists who are seeking refuge in Albania now: I am Hamid Nouri, I am now in Iran with my family, where are you?"

"You used to say that even God cannot free me, now you see God freed me."

Nouri endured a total of 1,680 days in a Swedish prison and was freed in what Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani described as a "manifestation of Iran’s powerful diplomacy" in "materializing and serving" national interests.

In a post on X on Sunday, Iran’s interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said Nouri returned to Iran through "authoritative diplomacy," crediting former Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Nouri’s son, Majid, expressed his joy and relief upon his father's return to the country.

“We’re very happy that before Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Ghadir (upcoming Muslim festivities), we finally saw an end to a period of suffering, captivity, and injustice that was imposed on my father by the West,” he told Press TV in an exclusive interview on Saturday.

He also thanked Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and President Ebrahim Raeisi, who passed away in a helicopter crash on May 19, for their efforts to free his father from Swedish captivity.

Nouri’s wife, speaking to Press TV on Saturday, also thanked Martyr Raeisi and Martyr Amir-Abdollahian for her husband’s release.

“We owe my husband’s freedom to the efforts made by Martyr Raeisi and Martyr Amir-Abdollahian, who are very much missed. May their souls rest in peace,” she said.

Why was Nouri jailed in Sweden?

The 62-year-old Nouri was arrested in November 2019 when he arrived at Stockholm Airport based on complaints filed by notorious anti-Iran elements living in exile in Sweden.

These elements represented the MKO terrorist group, which has claimed responsibility for the murder of nearly 17,000 Iranians over the past four decades in their terrorist operations.

The MKO was formerly recognized as a terrorist group internationally, but Western politicians pushed for its removal from the list of terrorist groups due to their anti-Iran and Islamophobic tendencies.

In July 2022, Nouri was handed a life sentence solely based on claims made by MKO terrorists. He was found guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” over his alleged role in the executions of MKO members in Iran in 1988, a charge he outright rejected as “fabricated.”

In December 2023, Sweden’s Appeal Court upheld the verdict.

Thomas Bodstrom, Nouri’s lawyer, stated that the ruling came despite many violations in the process of handling the case. Bodstrom explained that the Stockholm Court of Appeals refused to examine the strong defense presented by Nouri’s lawyers.

Iran’s judiciary announced that Tehran “will not recognize any verdict except the acquittal verdict regarding Hamid Nouri’s innocence,” calling the verdict against Nouri “unfair.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry at the time summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires in Tehran to protest the life sentence handed down to Nouri, stating that the verdict “exposed the double standards of the Western countries who claim to be advocating human rights worldwide.”

Earlier in March, Sweden’s Supreme Court also upheld the sentence, refusing to hear an appeal submitted by the Iranian prisoner.

Iranian authorities repeatedly stated that Nouri’s imprisonment and trial in Sweden were politically motivated, influenced by pressure and propaganda from anti-Iran groups and individuals in the West.

How was he tortured by Swedish authorities?

Nouri spent more than three and a half years of his imprisonment in Sweden in solitary confinement, suffering severe torture and harassment.

In May 2023, Bodstrom revealed that Nouri had spent 1,295 days in a 7-square-meter cell, breaking the record for the longest solitary confinement in Swedish history.

Bodstrom described Nouri as “the most isolated prisoner” in Swedish history. His family frequently complained about being kept in the dark about his condition, as Nouri was denied contact with them.

Nouri's son Majid stated that his father was tortured while in custody, causing damage to his eyesight and hearing, as Swedish authorities barred him from visiting a doctor.

“My father is under physical and spiritual torture in prison, and we are very worried about his health condition.”

In February, Nouri’s son told the media that his father was denied medical treatment for a broken leg.

“Sweden refrains from providing full medical services to my father, and since we are no longer in contact with him, we do not know why and how this incident happened,” Majid Nouri said at the time.

He added that after his father broke his leg, only an X-ray was ordered, and the Swedish detention center did not allow a specialist to treat his father, leaving him in that condition for a week.

Last August, Nouri's son revealed in a social media post that his father told him Swedish authorities strip-search him every week.

“Every once in a while, they give me permission to contact my family with great difficulty and every time they threaten me not to tell them anything,” Nouri told his son during a phone call at the time.

“Every week they strip-search me in prison; every time I meet my family members or anyone, two or three guards carry out a body search.”

His family members were also unfairly treated by Swedish authorities and harassed by MKO supporters in that country.

In March, Nouri’s daughter, Atiyeh, said in a post on X that her brother was arrested by Sweden’s police.

In September 2023, Nouri’s son and daughter said MKO supporters chanted anti-Iran slogans and cursed them when they attended their father’s court session.

Nouri was released as part of an exchange with two Swedish nationals who had committed security-related crimes.

What did Iranian authorities say about it?

Kazem Gharibabadi, head of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, who announced Nouri’s release in a post on his X account on Saturday, said his imprisonment was “arbitrary” and “illegal” since he did not commit any crimes.

“Nouri was arrested based on claims made by a terrorist group, and he well-resisted over these five years, he defended Iran’s legitimacy and has taken a good stand in this regard,” Gharibabadi said after Nouri’s return to Iran.

He added that Nouri, who had to endure five years of “extreme pain and suffering,” is a “source of pride” for the Islamic Republic.

Gharibabadi also asked Nouri to recount what he endured during his captivity in Sweden, “a country representing itself as a champion of human rights,” and to tell the public the truth about the Western government.

On Sunday, in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Gharibabadi said MKO and other terrorist outfits suffered another blow at the hands of the Islamic Republic with Nouri's release.

“The release of Mr. Nouri was another defeat for the MKO terrorist group and anti-Iran outfits,” he asserted.

“This issue is not actually about the freedom of a fellow countryman. The enemies had turned Mr. Nouri’s case into a case against the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of a terrorist group, but they were defeated by the grace of God.”

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