World News‎ > ‎

Iran hangs Dutch woman arrested after protests

posted 30 Jan 2011, 05:02 by Mpelembe   [ updated 30 Jan 2011, 05:05 ]

Iranian state television shows footage of a Dutch woman - Zahra Bahrami - who was hanged for drug charges her family says were trumped up. The 45-year old was arrested after the country's "Ashura" protests in 2009.

English-speaking Iranian state media Press TV on Sunday (January 30) showed a still photograph of an Iranian-Dutch woman, arrested after taking part in anti-government protests in Tehran in 2009.

Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported that Zahra Bahrami was hanged for drug smuggling on Saturday (January 29).

The agency quoted the court of the Islamic Republic as saying: "a woman smuggler named Zahra Bahrami, daughter of Ali, has been hanged today for the possession and selling of narcotics."

The 45-year-old woman's daughter was quoted by the New York-based rights group International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran as saying the drug charges were fabricated.

Mehr reported that she had been found guilty of smuggling cocaine into Iran from the Netherlands and was found with 450 grams of the drug in her possession. Iran does not recognise dual citizenship.

Bahrami -- who according to the International Campaign for Human Rights, lived in London but visited her family in Iran -- took part in opposition demonstrations marking the Shi'ite Muslim festival of Ashura in December 2009.

That was six months after the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which was followed by the biggest street protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The government stamped out the protests which it says were the work of foreign-backed seditionists. Thousands of people were detained after the election. Most of them have since been freed, but more than 80 people have been jailed for up to 15 years and at least five have been sentenced to death.

As in the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani -- an Iranian woman whose sentence to death by stoning was suspended after an international outcry -- Iranian authorities accused foreign governments of trying to interfere in judicial proceedings.