Iran envoy summoned over hanged Dutch woman's burial

7th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands said on Monday it had summoned Iran's ambassador in The Hague to protest the hushed burial of a Dutch citizen after she was executed by the regime in Tehran.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the Dutch ambassador to Tehran was also being brought back to The Hague for consultations after Zahra Bahrami was buried in the absence of her family who had wished to be present.

"We were taken aback by the manner in which Mrs Bahrami's remains were treated, and we want to protest the lack of respect shown to her family," the spokesman Bengt van Loosdrecht told AFP.

The Iranian ambassador, Kazem Gharib Abadi, was summoned to the Dutch foreign ministry in The Hague, where he met a senior official on Monday morning, said the spokesman.

"The meeting took place, and we relayed our message," Van Loosdrecht said, declining to go into further detail.

The Netherlands had also decided to consult its own ambassador, Cees Kole, on the matter. Kole would seek a meeting with Iran's foreign minister and report back in The Hague on Thursday.

Bahrami, a 46-year-old Iranian-born naturalised Dutch citizen, was hanged on January 29 after being convicted of a drugs offence. Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said cocaine was found in a search of her home.

She was initially arrested in the aftermath of the widespread protests in 2009 that followed disputed elections in Iran.

Her execution last month prompted the Dutch government to freeze all contact with what it labelled a "barbarous regime".

According to a report on Dutch public radio, which cited an Iranian human rights body, Bahrami was buried on Sunday some 400 kilometres (250 miles) outside Tehran.

Iran has hanged 67 people so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on Iranian media reports, and foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said 80 percent of those hanged were drug smugglers.

In 2009, the last year for which complete statistics are available, Iran executed 388 people, according to international human rights groups, making it second to China in the number of people it put to death.

Adultery, murder, drug trafficking and other major crimes are all punishable by death in Iran.

Bahrami's execution has been condemned by the European Union and the United States, which urged the Islamic republic to halt all executions.

Iran in turn lashed out at Western nations, saying the executions were none of their business.

"If Iran does not combat drugs, Europe and the West will be hurt," Mehmanparast said last week.

© 2011 AFP

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