Dutch government recalls ambassador from Iran

7th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal has recalled the Dutch ambassador from Iran, after the body of Zahra Bahrami was buried in secret on Sunday. The Dutch-Iranian woman was unexpectedly executed in Iran last week. Her daughter, Banafsheh Najebpour, who lives in Tehran, was only informed about the funeral after it was too late for her to travel to the place of interment.

The ambassador had been trying to help the family with arrangements to recover Zahra Bahrami's body. Before he leaves, he will deliver a sharply-worded protest to the Iranian authorities about their "disrespectful treatment of Ms Bahrami's family".

The daughter passed the news of the burial to Sadegh Nageshkar of the Iranian human rights organisation HRADI and he informed Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

"The daughter received a phone call from the secret service at 3.30 p.m. local time informing her that preparations for the burial had begun. She or one other relative was given permission to attend the funeral, which would take place in the town of Semnan. But that is more than 400 kilometres from Tehran so the family would never have been able to arrive on time."

The Iranian human rights organisation says this strongly suggests that Zahra Bahrami was convicted for political reasons and not for possession of drugs, as the official verdict states.

"The bodies of prisoners executed in Iran for drug offences are always returned to the families. That never happens with political prisoners because the regime is afraid their funeral will turn into a demonstration."

Following the execution on 29 January, stories began to circulate that she had been tortured and her body showed signs of this. HRADI says this is another reason for the authorities not to release the body and to arrange a secret burial.

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© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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