TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has sentenced two Swedish citizens to several years in prison on drug smuggling charges, the judiciary announced Tuesday, the latest in a series of cases raising tensions between the Islamic Republic and the nation. nordic
Iran’s hardline judiciary handed down a five-year sentence and a fine of approximately $34,000 to Swedish citizen Simon Kasper Brown for allegedly trafficking 9.7 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of the banned painkiller Tramadol. Security forces took Brown out of Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport and seized his stash of soft narcotic pills, said Masoud Setayeshi, the judiciary spokesman.
Tehran also sentenced Swedish citizen Stephen Kevin Gilbert to eight years in prison and ordered him to pay a $500 fine. Gilbert was arrested at the airport in January 2020 for allegedly smuggling 9.8 kilograms of opium-based drugs into the country, the judiciary said.
Brown and Gilbert are the latest Swedes to arrive at an Iranian prison as relations between the two countries deteriorate. Earlier this year, Iran jailed two Swedish visitors in separate incidents on widely criticized espionage charges. Another Swedish citizen a respected 50-year-old doctor who accuses Iran of spying for Israelfaces the death penalty.
The cases come amid a historic search in Sweden to hold accountable a former Iranian official accused of committing atrocities that has sparked outrage in Tehran. A Stockholm court sentenced Hamid Nouri to life in prison for his alleged war crimes, prompting Iran to withdraw the ambassador from him.
Iran has jailed at least a dozen dual nationals in recent years as Tehran trades money and influence with the West. Most of them are being held on disputed espionage charges.
Iran’s law also stipulates harsh punishments for drug offences. Those accused of drug possession, trafficking, or trafficking offenses account for about 73% of executions in the country.