Netherlands concerned over rights activist in Iran

11th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands on Wednesday said it was concerned over the health of a Dutch-Iranian human rights activist, sentenced and jailed in Iran five years ago.

"(Foreign Minister) Uri Rosenthal is concerned over the health of Abdullah al-Mansouri," Rosenthal's spokesman Job Frieszo told AFP.

"His family has had no contact with him since September. Before then they were in contact with him every two months," he said.

"Everything is being done, via the embassies of the two countries, to give him consular assistance," he added.

Al-Mansouri was decorated by the Dutch Queen for his efforts involving the Arabic-speaking minority in Khuzestan. He gained Dutch citizenship after fleeing Iran in the late 1980s and had lived there ever since.

He was arrested in May 2006 while visiting Iran's chief regional ally Syria, which then extradited him to the Islamic republic, according to human rights watch Amnesty International.

"There he was believed to have been sentenced to 15 years in prison," Amnesty said on its Dutch website adding: "the charge on which Al-Mansouri was sentenced was never made public."

Dutch news agency ANP said Al-Mansouri was given a 30-year term for "terrorism."

Iran did not recognise dual citizenship and therefore regarded Al-Mansouri as an Iranian citizen, Job Frieszo said.

The Netherlands on January 29 strongly protested the hanging of Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami -- a 46-year-old Iranian-born naturalised Dutch citizen -- 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 prompted the Dutch government to freeze all contact with what Rosenthal labelled an act of a "barbarous regime".

© 2011 AFP

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