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US Urges Iran to Halt Executions, Guarantee Rights of Citizens

The United States is deeply concerned that Iran continues to deny its citizens their human rights, reads a Jan. 31 press statement by US Assistant Secretary at the US State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley. Judicial cases, trials, and sentences continue to proceed without transparency and the due process rights enshrined in Iran’s own constitution, he said.

“We are particularly troubled by the recent execution of Dutch-Iranian national Zahra Bahrami, who was denied access to Dutch consular officials.

“Her execution is one of dozens carried out in recent weeks amid serious questions about the motives of the Iranian government and whether these prisoners were granted their rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United States urges the Iranian government to halt these executions and to guarantee the rights of its citizens in accordance with its international obligations,” reads the US State Department statement.

Iran hanged Bahrami on Saturday, saying she was a drug smuggler, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, although the Dutch government expressed “great concern” about her case three weeks ago, CNN reports.

Fars said Bahrami smuggled cocaine into Iran with the help of a Dutch partner.

But the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Bahrami was originally charged with security offenses in the wake of widespread protests against the government over a controversial presidential election in June 2009.

Her lawyer was “shocked” to find she had been hanged, the group said.

Iran denied Bahrami access to Dutch consular assistance and would not let Dutch officials attend her trial because Tehran did not recognize her dual citizenship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands said on Jan. 5.