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Sunday 26 October  
(l-r) Bahrami and Rosenthal
Johan Huizinga's picture
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The Hague, Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands

Could the Dutch have stopped the hanging in Iran?

Published on : 31 January 2011 - 4:06pm | By Johan Huizinga (photo: ANP)
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Was there any way the Netherlands could have prevented the execution of Dutch-Iranian woman Zahra Bahrami? Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says his did his utmost but others in The Hague have their doubts.

Zahra Bahrami was hanged late last week in Iran - sentenced to death, ostensibly for trafficking in drugs but more likely for taking part in last year's anti-government protests. Just hours before the execution Mr Rosenthal was, he claims, in contact with Tehran. He was assured that the trial of Ms Bahrami was still continuing. The foreign minister reacted with astonishment at the execution and broke off all diplomatic contact with Iran.

No refuelling
Democrat party leader Alexander Pechtold is one of the Dutch politicians who has openly questioned whether the minister really tried hard enough. Hadn't the Netherlands offended Iran in December when it was announced the Iranian foreign minister wouldn't be allowed to refuel his plane in the Netherlands? The Iranian minister decided to cancel his visit to the Netherlands and he and Uri Rosenthal never got to discuss the Bahrami case.

Mr Rosenthal denies that this decision caused a crucial rift in the contacts with Tehran.
"No, I don't feel that's true at all since there were numerous contacts after that. Let me put it this way: what have it come to if we're willing to exchange a human life for a jerry can of oil?"

Dialogue
D66 party leader Pechtold believes Minister Rosenthal is clearly on a different wavelength from his predecessors.
"Other - previous - ministers were somewhat more concerned about human rights. This minister began his term of office with an interview in which he said he wanted to put less emphasis on human rights. Less than the previous foreign minister Maxime Verhagen. Even former minister Ben Bot got involved with this case recently, at the request of the family."

Uri Rosenthal, however, insists he did everything possible to maintain a dialogue with the Iranian authorities. He points out that he also had to take into account the fates of various other Dutch Iranians imprisoned in Iran. 

Weak
However, the fact remains that Ms Bahrami's lawyers were not contacted by officials from the Dutch embassy in Tehran until two weeks ago. Earlier the foreign ministry stated that the Dutch state only provides financial and legal support in cases of this kind if the death sentence has formally been pronounced and the defendant has appealed against the sentence.

Critics say that's rather weak for a country that claims to be so committed to defending human rights.

(imm)

 

Discussion

alanposting 4 February 2011 - 11:35pm

Oh, the Dutch could not do anything to save this women, who never got a fair trial... all I can say, does the work Bosnia bring anything to mind.

Anonymous 2 February 2011 - 6:17pm / India

Dutch television progamme Nieuwsuur reported on Monday that Ms Bahrami was sentenced to three years in prison in 2003 for attempting to smuggle 16 kilos of cocaine from the Caribbean to the Netherlands. In 2007, she was convicted for forging a passport.

Vera Gottlieb 1 February 2011 - 9:30pm / Germany

I have no pitty whatsoever for drug pushers/dealers - man or woman, regardless of nationality. Dealing drugs is slow-motion murder.

alanposting 4 February 2011 - 11:33pm

Vera....is there anything rolling around in your brain?

Anonymous 31 January 2011 - 10:37pm / you know

No, the Netherlands could not have prevented the execution of Zahra Bahrami!
This regime does not care about any human life.Destruction is their slogan.

GHSR STUDIES & RESEARCH 31 January 2011 - 8:45pm / United Kongdom

The Dutch foreign minister said he used all possibilities to avoid the execution but what means "all possibilties" here?

The Irian foreign minister scheduled a trip to the Netherlands to discuss Barahmi case but demanded refuel for his flight back to Iran. The Dutch minister contacted the US because refuelling any Iranian plane is a violation against the embargo. It is this warning which the Dutch moved to refuse the refuel of the Iranian plane.

The refusing have made the Iranians angry. GHSR believes that the Iranian reaction against the Dutch refusal have speedup the execution even before the end of several trials which were on the role.

The Dutch minister have act very slowly to handle the case and even too late while similtaniously following a course which is not in the interest of every Dutch citizens.

It is deeply shaming to conclude that political interests always prevails the interest of just a human life.

Hiram1 31 January 2011 - 10:11pm

1. "The Irian foreign minister scheduled a trip to the Netherlands to discuss Barahmi case but demanded refuel for his flight back to Iran. The Dutch minister contacted the US because refuelling any Iranian plane is a violation against the embargo."...Response: The Iranian government has diplomatic reslationships with both the E.U., Netherlands, and the U.S., and are authorized to enter all three in order to maintain those ties. I doubt very seriously that the U.S. had the Netherlands restrict fuel to a foreign minster from Iran or any country willing to discuss a case like Barahmi. 2. "It is this warning which the Dutch moved to refuse the refuel of the Iranian plane."...Response: Failure to refuel didn't have anything to do with the execution. Are you saying if the Dutch would have refueled the plane, the Iranian govt would have never execute her? 3. "The Dutch minister have act very slowly to handle the case and even too late while similtaniously following a course which is not in the interest of every Dutch citizens."...Response: What was the Dutch minister to do with Iran in order to stop the execution? Attack Iran with the Dutch military? The Dutch nor the E.U. will attack Iran or any Islamic country for one executing one person or gassing thirty, thousand persons like Saddam did with the Kurish people in Iraq. They will sell their souls and those of anyone who blocks the oil flow into Europe. 4. "It is deeply shaming to conclude that political interests always prevails the interest of just a human life." ...Response: If we want all citizens of the world to enjoy freedom, then the E.U., U.S. and all countries who say they believe in freedom, should stop dealing with those tyrants who us their oil as a weapon and place an embargo on them. Let them eat their oil and believe me the people will overthrow the tyrants or go hungry.

Hiram1 31 January 2011 - 5:07pm

"Was there any way the Netherlands could have prevented the execution of Dutch-Iranian woman Zahra Bahrami? Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal says his did his utmost but others in The Hague have their doubts."....The Dutch government "might" have saved her live by not being so aggressive in it's approach with the Iranian government and it's system of justice. The Dutch went toe to toe with Iran and try to use aggressive tactics against a government that is far more aggressive. An aggressive government such as Iran, Korea, etc. when confronted becomes more aggressive and will do just the opposite of what is demanded in order to prove: "Who are you to tell me what I can or can not do in my own counrty." This is one of the major reasons why there is so much conflict in the Middle East and throughout the world. The Western nations are always trying to impose their value system openly in the public forum and not privately where it belongs. In closing the lady in this article was executed because the Dutch government and E.U. challenged Iran in the public forum and Iran knew the Dutch and E.U. would not do anything about it. Why? Because they know you need oil and they know you don't have the resolve to hold them accountable. They are experts at knowing the strengths and weakness of others!

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