Death sentence for Dutch-Iranian activist
30 October 2007, MAASTRICHT/HILVERSUM – Former foreign minister Ben Bot is willing to lead a delegation to Iran to urge for the release of Dutch-Iranian human rights activist Abdullah al Mansouri. There were reports on Monday that al Mansouri has been sentenced to death in Iran and may be executed within 48 hours.
30 October 2007
MAASTRICHT/HILVERSUM – Former foreign minister Ben Bot is willing to lead a delegation to Iran to urge for the release of Dutch-Iranian human rights activist Abdullah al Mansouri. There were reports on Monday that al Mansouri has been sentenced to death in Iran and may be executed within 48 hours.
Bot said on the radio programme Met het oog op morgen on Monday evening: "It is too absurd for words that a Dutch national has been sentenced to death. We must try to persuade them to open new talks on this and send a delegation. I am willing to work on that."
Bot acknowledged that his successor Minister Maxime Verhagen had not made any statement on Mansouri's situation on Monday. "But we haven't received any official report from Iran either," Bot said in his successor's defence.
A Syrian human rights organisation had informed Mansouri's son Adnan al-Mansouri about his father's plight.
Mansouri was born in Iran, but was granted Dutch citizenship after fleeing to the Netherlands as a political refugee. The human rights activist has been involved with the civil rights of minorities in Iran. He received royal distinction for his work from Dutch Queen Beatrix.
Iran, however, claims Mansouri has been involved in terrorist activities.
He was arrested 18 months ago during a trip to Syria and authorities subsequently extradited him to Iran, where he has allegedly been tortured.
His son says he expects his father will be forced to confess to certain crimes on Iranian national television prior to his execution.
The Dutch Foreign Affairs spokesman on Monday had no information about any hearings that have taken place in the case against Mansouri. Iran had earlier promised Mansouri would not be sentenced without hearings.
In the past weeks, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen (Christian Democrats) discussed Mansouri's case with the Iranian ambassador in The Hague and with his Iranian counterpart during a recent visit to New York.
Groenlinks and the Freedom party (PVV) are due to question Verhagen about Mansouri's situation in Parliament on Tuesday.
Mariko Peters (Groenlinks) wants Verhagen to negotiate with Teheran to prevent the execution of the human rights activists.
The Syrian human rights organisation, who told al-Mansouri's son about the sentencing, has requested Syrian President Bashir al-Assad to mediate to prevent the execution.
In addition to Mansouri, Syria also arrested two Norwegians and one Swedish national who were also extradited to Iran.
Adnan al-Mansouri hopes the Dutch, Norwegians and Swedes will join forces to exert pressure on Iran to prevent the execution and says his father has appeared in an Iranian court three times without any legal representation.
His father's lawyer had been jailed, along with his wife and daughter, he said. The Iranian prosecution allegedly requested his lawyer be sentenced to three years imprisonment, for unknown reasons.
In November 2005, former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan failed to receive clarification about Mansouri from the Iranian authorities.
[Copyright Expatica News, dpa + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news