Iran hangs Iranian-Dutch woman for drug smuggling

TEHRAN/AMSTERDAM Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:03pm EST

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TEHRAN/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - An Iranian-Dutch woman, arrested in Iran after taking part in demonstrations has been hanged for drug smuggling, prompting the Netherlands to freeze official contacts and issue a travel advice to such nationals.

Dutch foreign affairs minister Uri Rosenthal received official confirmation of the execution on Saturday after summoning the Iranian ambassador at The Hague following news reports, a Dutch foreign affairs ministry spokesman said.

"The minister was deeply shocked, this was an act committed by a barbaric regime. The fact that Iranian diplomats had told us just on Friday that not all legal avenues had run their course made this even more shocking," he said.

Earlier on Saturday Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported, quoting a court announcement, that a woman smuggler named Zahra Bahrami, daughter of Ali, had been hanged 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 recognize dual citizenship.

In light of the execution, the Netherlands cannot ensure the safety of Iranians who are also Dutch nationals and has issued a travel advice against them visiting Iran, the Dutch foreign affairs ministry spokesman said.

The Netherlands would raise the issue at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday and would seek measures to be taken against Iran, the spokesman added, without specifying what these measures would be.

All official contacts with Iran would be frozen and Iranian diplomats in the Netherlands would have to seek permission from the Dutch foreign affairs ministry before they met any Dutch official, the Dutch foreign affairs ministry spokesman said.

However, there was no decision about recalling the Dutch ambassador in Tehran, he added.

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.

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