Death sentence fears for Dutch-Iranian woman

It has emerged that a Dutch-Iranian woman has been in prison in Iran since the end of last year on suspicion of subversion. Zahra Bahrami is said to have been tortured while in custody. The Dutch foreign ministry says she could face the death penalty. The Dutch ambassador is not being allowed to offer her assistance.

The charges against 45-year-old Zahra Bahrami describe her as a ‘mohareb’, an enemy of God. She appeared in court last week. She is charged with belonging to a monarchist group, setting up an anti-government organisation and spreading anti-Iranian propaganda. The opposition Hrana human rights website says that, at the start of her trial, she was denied legal representation.

Ms Bahrami travelled from the Netherlands to visit one of her children in Iran and was arrested on 27 December 2009. She was accused of taking part in a demonstration. Since her arrest, she has been held at Tehran’s Evin prison.

Amnesty international has known about her plight for just one week. Ruud Bosgraaf from the organisation’s Amsterdam branch says Amnesty is looking into the facts of the case:

“We’ve learned from publicly available resources that she was involved in the Ashura protests in December, one of the many demonstrations following the Green Revolution. She was picked up there and may have been condemned to death. We also understand that she may have a Dutch passport. That’s all we know.”

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