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Sweden and Iran carry out prisoner swap, officials say

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Sweden has freed convicted former Iranian official Hamid Noury, Iran's top human rights official Kazem Gharib Abadi said on X on Saturday.

Hamid Noury, who is accused of involvement in the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in 1988, sits with attorney Thomas Soderqvist, during his trial, in this courtroom sketch, in Stockholm District Court, Sweden November 23, 2021. Anders Humlebo/TT News Agency via Reuters

Sweden has freed convicted former Iranian official Hamid Noury, Iran's top human rights official Kazem Gharib Abadi said on X on Saturday.

He said Noury, who had been convicted for his part in a mass execution of political prisoners in Iran in 1988, will be back in Iran in a few hours.

Separately, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced in a statement that Swedish citizens Johan Floderus and Saeed Azizi who had been detained in Iran were on a plane back to Sweden.

"Iran used them both as pawns in a cynical negotiations game with the purpose of getting the Iranian citizen Hamid Noury released from prison in Sweden. He is convicted of serious crimes committed in Iran in the 1980s," Kristersson said.

"As prime minister I have a special responsibility for Swedish citizens' safety. The government has therefore worked intensively on the issue, together with the Swedish security services which have negotiated with Iran."

Noury, 63, was arrested at a Stockholm airport in 2019 and later sentenced to life in prison for war crimes for the mass execution and torture of political prisoners at the Gohardasht prison in Karaj, Iran, in 1988. He denied the charges.

Floderus was arrested in Iran in 2022 and charged with spying for Israel and "corruption on earth", a crime that carries the death penalty.

Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Dubai newsroom

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