Dutch-Iranian rights activist imprisoned

23rd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Maastricht based human rights activist Abdullah al-Mansouri was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment in Iran.

THE HAGUE—The Maastricht human rights activist Faleh Abdullah al-Mansouri has been given a 30-year prison sentence in Iran. The Dutch Ambassador in Teheran received the information from the Iranian authorities after persistent inquries.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxine Verhagen said that the Netherlands would continue to advocate for Al-Mansouri. Mansouri was captured while visiting Syria in May 2006, and extradited to Iranian authorities.

Al Mansouri received asylum in the Netherlands in 1988 after being sentenced to execution in Iran for his work as a dissident. He became a Dutch citizen, and was awarded the prestigious Order of Orange-Nassau for his work as a human rights activist. Iran has refused to recognize Al Mansouri as a Dutch citizen, and has ignored his rights to receive legal assistance from the Netherlands.

“Questions remain about how the process against Al Mansouri was conducted, and the manner in which the sentence was determined,” said Verhagen. “Since the Netherlands was denied its right to extend consular assistance to Al-Mansouri, we can give no assessment on whether he was granted due process.”

Al Mansouri has been allowed regular contact with his family in the Netherlands. The Dutch ambassador in Teheran has been informed that Al Mansouri will be granted the right to an appeal.

Faleh Abdullah Al Mansouri is an ethnic Ahwazi, a minority Arabic group of about 5 million people bordering Iraq. Ahwazis live in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan.

Despite the regions wealth Ahwazi natives are among the world’s poorest, with the majority of children suffering from malnutrition, according to Amnesty International. Most residents are illiterate, and are denied the right to an education in Arabic. The area was independent until 1925, when oil was discovered. Al Mansouri was the leader of the Maastricht-based Ahwaz Liberation Organisation, and an activist for Amnesty International.

The Iraqi invasion of the area in 1980 started the Iran-Iraq war.

Radio Netherlands/NRC Handelsblad/Expatica

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