FM: Iranian ambassador had assured Netherlands foreign ministry of deferment of Bahrami's execution

Azerbaijan, Baku, 8 February / corr. Trend T. Konyayeva /

The execution of Zahra Bahrami was a complete surprise for the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, since on the eve of her execution, Iranian ambassador assured the Ministry that the execution will not be performed until the end of the investigation, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bengt Van Loosdrecht.

"Bahrami was executed, and that came as a surprise to the Netherlands because the day before her execution the ambassador of Iran in the Netherlands assured us that not all legal means had been exhausted," Loosdrecht told Trend in a telephone conversation from The Hague.

46-year-old Zahra Bahrami, who had Iranian and Dutch citizenships, was executed on Jan.28 in Iran for drug trafficking. The sentence was fulfilled despite protests of the European Union.

Bahrami, was arrested in January 2010. Police found 450 grams of cocaine and about the same amount of opium on her. According to the relatives of the executed, all charges against her were fabricated, and she was arrested due to the fact that she was participating in the anti-government opposition in 2009.
The Netherlands recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultations on the case of Bahrami, but before returning to The Hague, ambassador expressed official protest to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to Loosdrecht, there was another case, a political case against Bahrami. There was a case about her participation in protests of the Green Movement.

"That case had not been finished yet. So, Iran had assured us that as long as the other case was pending, shе wouldn't been executed, he said. - But the next day after we received this communication, Mrs. Bahrami was executed. So, we were very surprised at this lack of credibility."

On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran regrets and considers unfounded the protests from the Netherlands against death of Zahra Bahrami, since the death penalty was imposed in connection with her serious crimes, particularly with drug trafficking.

"Bahrami was a Dutch-Iranian citizen with two passports. She also had a Dutch citizenship. As a result we felt we were entitled to look after the legal rights of Bahrami. The legal rights mean that she be granted a councular support from the embassy in Tehran and that she be granted visits from the embassy," Loosdrecht said.

"Now, Iran rejected this position because Iran said: We don't acknowledge the Dutch citizenship of Bahrami. That was one contentious issue because the Netherlands never had an access to Mrs. Bahrami and it was very difficult to arrange her legal representation," he said. 

"After that we said: the body of Bahrami needs to be returned to his family in Tehran. We insisted with Iranian authoritites that they should return her body to her daughter," Loosdrecht said.

"This weekend or Monday we learned that Bahrami was buried 400 km from Tehran, and her daughter never had a chance to attend a funeral because it was too far away and authorities just gave her two hours notice before her mother was buried," he said.

Netherlands Foreign Ministry thinks it is inhuman to bury a mother and not letting her daughter attend this funeral. It is really disrespectful, Loosdrecht said.
He said that on Monday, the Netherlands Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassdor of Iran to the Ministry to protest against this disrespectful treatment of Bahramli's family.

"At the same time we are recalling our ambassador from Tehran back to the Netherlands this Thursday for consultations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It's a temporary measure. The ambassador is coming back for few days but it's a political signal also to Iran that we don't accept this disrespectful treatment," Loosdrecht said.

"Based on the outcomes of these discussions, the minister will decide on following steps. But I can't predict what the Minister will do," Loosdrecht said.   

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