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Will Hamid Nouri Spend Life in Swedish Detention?

The Supreme Court of Sweden has upheld the verdict against Hamid Nouri, a former judicial agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, sentencing him to life imprisonment for “war crimes” and “intentional murder” of political prisoners.

This decision is definitive and final. However, from a human rights perspective, the question arises: will Hamid Nouri be detained in Sweden for the remainder of his life?

According to human rights principles and the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the authorities of the Islamic Republic do not adhere, the answer is no.

For Iranians, one of the pivotal events of the last Persian year was the Swedish Supreme Court’s rejection of Hamid Nouri’s appeal against life imprisonment.

On March 6, the Supreme Court of Sweden affirmed the Stockholm Court of Appeal’s verdict regarding the former assistant prosecutor of Gohardasht prison.

Despite Nouri’s attempts to challenge the punishment for the crimes of 1988 through appeals, including to the highest court, his efforts proved unsuccessful.

The imposition of a life sentence, the severest penalty under Swedish law, marks an unprecedented move in the history of the Islamic Republic against one of its lower-ranking judicial agents.

Nouri’s convictions for war crimes and intentional murder underline the gravity of his actions.

Nouri, known as “Abbasi,” served as a former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and as an assistant prosecutor in the judiciary of the Islamic Republic at Gohardasht Karaj prison, alongside Judge Mohammed Moqiseh.

The jury identified him as a collaborator with the group referred to as the “Death Commission,” chaired by Ebrahim Raisi, the current president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, under the directive of Ruhullah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.

The Death Commission executed thousands of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, ordering their bodies to be buried in unmarked graves.

Despite nearly four decades having passed since this atrocity, the Islamic Republic persists in persecuting the families of the victims from the summer of 1988.

Life imprisonment, the maximum penalty in Swedish law, now confronts 62-year-old Hamid Nouri.

Despite the appellate and supreme courts’ confirmation of this sentence, Nouri will not remain incarcerated until his death.

As a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, Sweden is bound to uphold its principles.

Article 3 of the Convention explicitly prohibits torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The European Court of Human Rights, established under this convention and headquartered in Strasbourg, France, determined that life imprisonment equates to detention until death, thereby constituting a form of torture.

Such deprivation of hope and freedom runs contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The European Court of Human Rights emphasizes that it is not only the responsibility of the sentencing court to determine when a review of a life imprisonment sentence is appropriate.

Rather, considering the entirety of legal and criminal regulations, including international criminal law and the application of relevant laws concerning life imprisonment, it is deduced that periodic reviews for the appeal of a life sentence among members of the European Convention on Human Rights should occur no later than 25 years after the sentence is imposed.

Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights has clarified that if the domestic laws of member states fail to provide for the possibility of reviewing the incarceration status of individuals sentenced to life imprisonment for reconsideration of their punishment, such individuals are subjected to imprisonment until death, contravening the Convention’s standards.

This stance serves to prevent torture and degrading treatment.

Essentially, within member states of the Convention, individuals sentenced to life imprisonment possess the right not to be confined indefinitely and to retain hope for eventual freedom.

The European Court of Human Rights supports the rights of life-sentenced prisoners by stating they should know upfront the conditions and process for potential release during their imprisonment.

The Court contends that in nations where domestic laws lack mechanisms or avenues for reviewing and appealing life sentences, such practices are inconsistent with the third article of the European Convention on Human Rights and should be rectified to prevent torture and inhumane punishment of those serving life terms.

Under this ruling, which is legally binding for Sweden, 62-year-old Hamid Nouri can be assured that his life sentence does not equate to permanent imprisonment.

In contrast to the certainty of a death sentence or retributive measures in the Islamic Republic of Iran for similar charges, Nouri retains the possibility of release through lawful means within the framework of the European Court of Human Rights.

Should Nouri survive and if the Islamic Republic fails to provide grounds for his release, either legally or illegally, within 25 years, before his 87th birthday, his case could be eligible for review for potential release from incarceration, under the directives of the European Court of Human Rights.