‘In seventh heaven’, says Swede freed in Iran prisoner swap

June 17, 2024
Johan Floderus (R) is greeted by his relative upon his arrival at Arlanda airport on Saturday.— AFP

STOCKHOLM: A Swede freed in a prisoner swap with Iran, 33-year-old EU diplomat Johan Floderus, said in his first words since his release that he was “in seventh heaven”, in a video published on Sunday.


In the video obtained by AFP from the Swedish government, Floderus can be heard speaking to Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson by satellite phone while on a flight home from Iran on Saturday.

“I´m in the sky and I feel emotionally like I´m in seventh heaven. I´ve been waiting for this for almost 800 days,” an audibly exhilarated Floderus told a smiling Kristersson. “I´ve dreamt of this day so many times,” he said, adding: “It´s beginning to sink in that I´ve left Iran´s airspace and am on my way home.”

Floderus could later be seen hugging his family members at Stockholm´s Arlanda airport after he landed, in images released by the Swedish government.

Floderus was arrested in Iran as he was about to return home from a holiday in April 2022. He was accused of espionage, for which he risked a death sentence.

He and another Swedish national, Saeed Azizi, were released on Saturday in exchange for Hamid Noury, a 63-year-old Iranian former prisons official handed a life sentence in Sweden in 2022 for his role in mass killings in Iranian jails in 1988.

A Swedish court had convicted Noury of “grave breaches of international humanitarian law and murder”.