Zahra Bahrami, an Iranian-Dutch citizen, was executed
in Tehran on Saturday January 30. She had been arrested 13 months earlier,
during massive protests against the presidential elections on the Day of Ashura,
a Muslim Holy Day. December 27, 2009 has became known as "Bloody Ashura" because
so many protesters were killed, wounded and arrested.
Zahra Bahrami in an undated photo
Bahrami's execution was reported by the Fars news agency,
which has connections to Iranian security and military forces. Fars said Bahrami
was a member of an international drug smuggling gang with Dutch connections.
The Tehran prosecutor office confirmed in a statement that Bahrami was initially
arrested on security charges. Bahrami's daughter, Banafsheh Nayebpour, told the
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the drug charges against
her mother were false. At her own trial, Bahrami told Judge Salvati: "I was
under extreme pressure and conditions and forced to accept the charges. But I am
telling you now that these charges are all unfounded and I completely deny
The Revolutionary Court was also processing a charge against Bahrami, accusing
her of membership in the Association of Iranian Monarchists (Anjoman-e Padeshahi
Iran). Bahrami denied this charge, as did the dissident group-in-exile itself.
A foreign ministry spokesman told reporters a few days ago that the charges
against Bahrami were being processed.
Dutch-Persians demonstration in front of Iran's Embassy in The Hague for Zahra Bahrami, 30 Jan 2011
A Dutch reporter interviewing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised Bahrami's case. The
Iranian President replied: "According to Iranian law, each person can only have
a single citizenship, Iranian or Dutch. Those who commit an offence will be
dealt with by the judiciary. If they are Dutch, the Dutch embassy should follow
the matter through the judiciary. If they are Iranian, the matter is pursued
like other Iranians and there are legal procedures and so on..."
At the end of the interview, Ahmadinejad added: "But so far I have not heard of
the name you mentioned."
Bahrami's lawyer told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he is "in
shock" from her hasty and rushed execution. "I am in shock," he said. "I am
surprised that they executed her before processing the security charges against
her. I was not even informed about it."
The Campaign for Human Rights in Iran cited a knowledgeable source saying: "In
prison, an anti-espionage team was responsible for interrogating Bahrami rather
than narcotics officers." The Dutch government has called on the Islamic
Republic for further explanation of Bahrami's execution. Iranian authorities had
denied Dutch diplomats any access to Barhami or her case files, rejecting the
validity of her dual citizenship.
execution of Zahra Bahrami and a number of other Iranian political prisoners -
including Hossein Khezri, Ali Saremi, Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Hajaghai -
roughly coincided with international day of protest against executions in the
Islamic Republic. A number of groups were behind the movement to hold protests
on Saturday January 29, including the International Campaign against Execution
in Iran, human rights organizations, committees outside Iran for the protection
of political prisoners' rights and civil activists.
"After hearing this news, the international committees against execution and
anti-capital punishment activists are all in shock and want to express our rage
at this act," said Mina Ahmadi, spokeswoman for the International Campaign
against Executions in Iran. "This execution shows that the Islamic Republic is
ready to spill more blood and execute many more. "Currently there are widespread
protests on an international level. I was in the European parliament a few days
ago. Together with Shiva Mahboubi, from the committees for the protection of
political prisoners rights spoke with the head of the EU human rights
commission. "One of the topics in our meeting (comprised of six people) was in
fact the case of Zahra Bahrami. It was said the EU is passing a law that would
make all the European Union member countries responsible for defending a citizen
who has been sentenced to death in another country. For example, in the case of
Zahra Bahrami, the Netherlands would not have to act alone. "Despite all
international protests, the Islamic Republic executed Zahra Bahrami and
published the news in the media on the very day that protests were planned in 38
countries across the world, including four cities in Afghanistan and two Kurdish
cities in Iraq.
"When human rights activists and all those who oppose the death penalty see
this, they come to the conclusion that all over the world, not only should we
stage more protests in the streets, but go further in confronting Islamic
"In the meeting with EU parliament I said that issuing statements is of no use
anymore. There must be more diplomatic pressure, Islamic Republic officials must
be banned from travel in the EU countries and their embassies must be shut down.
I think with their actions, the Islamic Republic is mocking the protests, and we
should give a response befitting theirs."
Ahmadi, who resides in Germany said calls to rally protesters have gone out in
Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dortmund, Köln and Frankfurt.
"I am now on my way to Frankfurt with some of my colleagues because the Islamic
Republic consulate is there," she said. "Various organizations have issued joint
rally calls. We hope there will be many demonstrators and that people will be
able to express their rage and revolt toward these executions, especially the
execution of Zahra Bahrami."