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Sunday July 21, 2024

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

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