Zahra Bahrami remembered

Some people’s lives are unhappy & often it can be said that these people have great bad luck. Often it is because they are born in the wrong country.

Zahra Bahrami was executed on January the 29th this year. She has turned out to be an enigmatic figure. A Dutch national. Or maybe she had dual nationality. She is a person who had genuine bad luck. She was married when she was 16. A fate which befalls women in many parts of the World. She had 2 daughters by this marriage. But this marriage ended badly. Then she married again & by this marriage had a son. This marriage didn’t work out. It seems the husband of this marriage used to beat for no good reason. Such is the fate of women in many parts of the World. She had a son by this marriage. In the early 90s she went to the Netherlands with her son & they were granted political asylum. Her eldest daughter committed suicide. She managed to visit Iran to visit her daughter’s grave & meet her younger daughter. Her youngest daughter visited her in Holland but was not allowed to stay. She was not granted refugee status apparently because she had been brought up in her family. It is somehow redolent of the current case of Mauro Manuel. The Dutch are a compassionate & caring people but they do have an unfortunate habit of dumping on refugees. There is the present case of Mauro Manuel being sent back to Angola because he is now of age. He had been living in the Netherlands since he was 10.

Zahra’s daughter, Banafsheh Najebpour, went to live in Turkey until her money ran out & she had no means to support herself & she had no choice but to return to Iran. The Dutch are generally very compassionate but in common with other European nations they do seem to dump on refugees.

Zahra spent a year in prison in Holland on charges of drug smuggling & forging passports. People have told me that the drugs were planted on her & that in fact she never took drugs herself & didn’t even smoke cigarettes.  But nobody seems to know why she carrying counterfeit passports. After spending a year in a Dutch prison, she was never quite the same person & had to have counselling for depression. Goodness knows what being an Iranian prison did for her.

At the time of the fateful visit to Iran to visit her mother & her daughter, Zahra in fact living somewhere in London but exactly where is a bit of a mystery. She was picked up in December 2009 in Tehran after taking part in the demonstrations against the rigged or at least widely believed to be rigged elections which saw Ahmadinejad retain power. If power is the right word for someone who is in effect a puppet of the supreme leader. She had made an impassioned declamation to a radio station which can be found on You Tube. This is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eBPmUPA6J4&feature=player_embedded

It seems that much of the time she was kept in solitary confinement & probably tortured. It seems that most prisoners in Iran are. As in most if not all countries prisoners are treated as lesser beings, as dogs, in fact worse than dogs. Dogs are normally loved & cherished. Prisoners are normally reviled even if they are innocent. And those who befriend them are looked down upon.  After the authorities discovered that Zahra had a drugs conviction in Holland, they conveniently (for them) found drugs secreted in Zahra’s flat. Or so they said. Those who knew Zahra say she never took drugs so the drugs thing is a bit of a mystery. Her mother was quoted as saying she couldn’t understand how the drugs happened to be there. But there is a suggestion, well it is more than a suggestion – it’s an assertion, by someone on the comment section on You Tube that he (or she) knew her when she was living in London & that she was a drug dealer. But this person may, for all we know, be an agent of the Iranian Government spreading lies about her. Zahra converted from Islam. She considered herself a Hindu. They, the Iranian authorities, can’t have known that. She was studying Indian Classical music at the Rotterdam conservatoire. She was a vegetarian. Goodness knows what food she was given in Evin prison. Not that that would have bothered the prison authorities.

I didn’t ever meet her but I feel that I knew her. I first heard about her when I read about her on the internet & I was asked if I could find someone who knew her.

It was somehow hard to believe that they would go ahead & kill her. But they did. They hanged her early in the morning; January 29th. Death is so final. When a state executes its citizens it is dragging itself down to the level of the criminal. In this case there was only one criminal; the state of Iran. All Zahra was guilty of in effect was taking part in a demonstration & of changing her nationality.

After she was killed, all hell broke out in the Netherlands because being a Dutch citizen she became a cause célèbre & because the government had done so little & had approached the Iranian authorities so submissively. The Iranian authorities had refused consular access to her on the grounds that they did not recognise her Dutch citizenship. They do not allow that anyone could change nationality from Iranian to something else. But by that time it was all too late. The deed had been done. The régime had got away with it, as they have hundreds of other times this year alone. More than 200 hundred people have been executed this year alone & it is said several hundred more have been secretly executed.

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