Josep Borrell confirms Swedish national held prisoner in Iran is an EU diplomat

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The European Union is determined to secure the release of Johan Floderus, a Swedish national held captive in Iran, said Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief. Floderus, a 33-year-old Swedish citizen and EU institutions employee, has been imprisoned in Tehran’s Evin prison for over 500 days since his detention in April 2022. The case was initially reported by the New York Times, revealing Floderus as a member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic arm.

The European Commission had previously referred to the detainee as a Swedish national used as a political pawn by Iran. However, Borrell officially confirmed Floderus’s identity, condemning his “illegal detention.” Borrell emphasized the EU’s relentless efforts, in close coordination with Swedish authorities and Floderus’s family, to secure his release.

Floderus had previously visited Iran in his official capacity but was detained during a private tourist trip with friends. He faced espionage charges, vehemently denied by those who know him. Floderus’s family expressed deep concern and despair over his prolonged imprisonment, emphasizing that his liberty was unjustly taken during a vacation trip.

Iran’s practice of imprisoning dual citizens on disputed charges, then negotiating their release with Western governments, has drawn international scrutiny. In a recent example, Belgian humanitarian worker Olivier Vandecasteele was released from a Tehran prison in a prisoner exchange between Belgium and Iran. The United Nations condemned Vandecasteele’s detention and treatment as a blatant violation of international law. The EU remains committed to securing Floderus’s freedom.

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