The Iran government has confirmed that the Dutch-Iranian woman Zahra Bahrami has been sentenced to death. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry made an official announcement over the weekend. Insiders say it is unusual for the death penalty to be announced in advance.
Iranian Human rights activist Sadegh Naghaskar told Radio Netherlands Worldwide on Monday that the death sentence was referred to in an interview with the state news agency Irna. The Dutch Foreign Ministry has confirmed this to RNW.
Naghaskar is concerned about the fate of the 45-year-old woman who was found guilty of possessing cocaine. "In principle she could be executed any moment now, but it could just as easily be several months." He says she has been transferred to an isolation wing of the prison known as 'Methadone'. This houses a number of political prisoners accused of possessing drugs.
Speaking from Tehran, Bahrami's daughter Banafsheh Najebpour told RNW of her fears about her mother. Her only hope is that the Dutch government is prepared to put pressure on Iran. Officially, an appeal against the conviction still has to be heard.
The prosecution claimed Bahrami was carrying 500 grams of cocaine, while the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said it was more than a kilogram. Human rights activist Naghaskar regards the charge as ridiculous: "The accusation was only made to make the death penalty more acceptable to the West. In reality she will be hanged for contacting the opposition during last year's demonstrations."
Two people were executed in Iran on Monday: Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Hajaghaei were hanged for filming the demonstrations against President Ahmadinejad last year. Sadegh Naghaskar says 97 people have been hanged in the last three weeks.