Iran contacted Zahra Bahrami’s daughter

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On Monday, the Iranian government contacted the daughter of Zahra Bahrami, the Dutch-Iranian woman executed in secret in Iran on 29 January. The news coincides with the discovery of an old audio recording featuring Ms Bahrami speaking out against Iran's regime.

Human rights activist Sadegh Nageshkar, who lives in the Netherlands, says he spoke to Ms Bahrami’s daughter, Banafsheh Najebpour in Tehran, later on Monday. She told him the Iranian regime had contacted her after the Dutch government recalled its ambassador from Tehran. The Dutch move led to major international publicity.

Ms Najebpour spoke by telephone from Tehran to Mr Nageshkar who works for the HRADI Iranian human rights organisation. She said she had been told where her mother was buried and that she planned to visit the grave on Tuesday.

Adverse publicity
According to the human rights activist, the news shows that the Iranian government is sensitive to the international condemnation which followed Ms Bahrami’s execution, and to the adverse publicity resulting from the recall of the Dutch ambassador.

Mr Nageshkar goes on to say that no announcements of further executions have been made by the Iranian authorities over the last few days. He urges the Netherlands and other international players to keep up the pressure concerning the human rights situation in his native Iran.

Last resting place
The Iranian government appears to be refusing to honour Ms Bahrami’s wish written in her will that she should be buried in her birthplace, a village north of Tehran. The authorities have repeated to Ms Najebpour that they, not she nor her family, will decide what is done with her mother’s remains.

[media:video]

This audio clip from December 2009 has been posted on the internet and features the voice of Zahra Bahrami. At the time, Iran was gripped by mass anti-government demonstrations following the contested election victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ms Bahrami is speaking during a Persian internet radio station broadcast. She uses the pseudonym Kordie Banoo for fear of reprisals. Ms Najebpour has confirmed that the voice is that of her mother, who is speaking via telephone to express her horror at the repression of the opposition by the authorities.

Zahra Bahrami was on a visit to her family in Iran in December 2009 when she was arrested. She was later shown on state television confessing to having been involved in the anti-government demonstrations. She was sentenced to death at the beginning of January this year on other charges concerning drugs smuggling. On 29 January, she was executed in secret without her family or lawyer being informed.

(mw/rk)