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Saturday 20 December  
Zahra Bahrami
News Desk's picture
Tehran, Iran
Tehran, Iran

Dutch Iranian woman sentenced to death in Iran

Published on : 5 January 2011 - 2:21pm | By RNW News Desk (Photo: RNW)
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Dutch-Iranian woman Zahra Bahrami has been found guilty of drug smuggling and sentenced to death by a court in Tehran.

Her daughter, Banafsheh Najebpour, speaking to Radio Netherlands Worldwide from Iran, confirmed the news. She said the court delivered its ruling on Sunday but the defence lawyer had not been allowed to break the news earlier. Banafshef Najebpour is shocked by the news. “I am devastated. What has my mother done wrong for heaven’s sake? I just don’t understand it. The lawyer wouldn’t even talk to me about it.”

Edited phone interview with Banafsheh Najebpour

Ms Bahrami was born in Iran but moved to the Netherlands, becoming a Dutch citizen. She returned to Iran in December 2009 to visit relatives. She is reported to have been arrested after taking part in anti-government demonstrations.

No help
Banafshef Najebpour last spoke to her mother just over a week ago. “She was holding up well and did not appear to be very afraid. She said she was almost certain that the Dutch government would help her. She assumed everyone would help her because she knows she has not committed any crime.”

But so far she says the promised help has not come, “I have been to the Dutch embassy twice. They said that they wanted to help me, but it was an empty promise, because they have not really done anything to help me. When I found a lawyer, I asked the embassy if it could pay the costs in advance, because I didn’t have the money. But they did not do so,” she told Radio Netherlands.

Dual nationality
Ms Bahrami has allegedly been kept in isolation for months and beaten regularly. Her case got publicity when it was announced on a human rights website run by Iranians. The Dutch authorities only found out who had been arrested six months afterwards. It was only then that her nationality could be confirmed.
The ministry of Foreign Affairs repeatedly called on the authorities in Tehran to give her a fair trial. The embassy tried to provide consular assistance, but Iran refused to recognise her dual nationality.


StanAmerikanski 30 January 2011 - 8:44am / USA

So Europe is finally realizing that Iran has indeed a barbaric regime? Late awake. Help US and Israel to de-fang this monstrosity that can engulf the world.

Anonymous 5 January 2011 - 7:58pm / Canada

Everyone with any common sense in the world, can see the Government of Iran acts like a bully and a dictator; it is not a crime to speak out against the Government; there should not be political prisoners, nor anyone arrested for anti Government demonstrations; the only reason Government cares what people say when they demonstrate and speak out anyway; is because what they say is true. In a country where people are not only- barbarically slowly hung, or stoned to death- but can't speak out against this dictator; of course police will find fake drugs or do any corrupt thing, the Government deems necessary, to cover up their deviant means of power and control; including abuse and beatings. What woman in Iran is respected today by the extremist in the country? I highly doubt that this middle age woman has had any interest in carrying drugs in her life; but I am sure police need some excuse for holding her in jail for so long, after human rights exposed what they were doing. People in the world and the Dutch Government need to act on her behalf.

Anonymous 5 January 2011 - 4:05pm / Iran

I feel very sorry for this lady. I hope her execution order will be commuted. But her case is not political at all. She was arrested in a major drug smuggling operation with large quantity of drugs to take to Europe. Propagating nonsensical rumors such as she is being beaten is not going to help her case. There are a number of ways to get commutation for her sentence in this type of cases. It starts with remorse and also a large donation on her behalf to a charity for prevention of drugs or help for families of security officials who have been killed by drug smugglers. Otherwise, I think she should just pray to get lucky.

StanAmerikanski 30 January 2011 - 8:52am / USA

Mr Anonymous from Iran. Is this what your badge says? She was killed by the murderous regime on trumped up charges, with no chance for decent honest trial and disproval of the "evidence". Just stop your false propaganda faking concern for the victim, will'ya? Iranian regime reminds me of Stalinist regimes who were killing people on false evidence.

Sleep well buddy. Until the acceptance of the status quo will finally start bothering you. Or your kids will ask question where have you been when this was happening.

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