Lawyer Confirms Death Sentence for Iranian-Dutch Protestor
Jinoos Sharif Razi, lawyer to Iranian-Dutch citizen, Zahra Bahrami, who was arrested during the Ashura Day Protests in 2009 (27 December 2009), talked to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about her client’s recent death sentence. “Ms. Bahrami has two charges. Her first charge is related to her arrest on Tehran streets on Ashura Day, but her other charge is related to her possession of drugs at her home. At this time the court has only reviewed her drug possession case and as the amount of drugs allegedly found in her home was more than the legal amount, she has been sentenced to death. The verdict from the lower court has been forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office and we are waiting to see what the Prosecutor’s opinion is, and whether he would confirm or reject it,” said Sharif Razi.
Bahrami rejected charges of drug possession in court. She was arrested on 27 December 2009 in Tehran. After a while, in addition to being charged with “rioting” on that day, she was further charged with possession of drugs in her home. Based on the ruling from Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts, on the charge of “possession of drugs,” she has been sentenced to death, confiscation of assets, property, automobile, and cash. Her first charge of participating in the Ashura Day protests and moharebeh, enmity with God, has not been reviewed yet.
Zahra Bahrami’s lawyer, Jinoos Sharif Razi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that she was served with Bahrami’s verdict ten days ago. “Drug-related cases are now reviewed in one stage, and they are treated with urgency. These types of charges have a different process. When the lower court issues its ruling, the ruling is sent to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecutor would either confirm or reject the ruling. But drug-related cases are no longer sent to appeals courts,” said Sharif Razi.
Regarding whether or not Zahra Bahrami’s death sentence could be carried out without reviewing her other charge, Sharif Razi replied: “Yes, because according to the law, for the amount of drugs she possessed the punishment is death. Even if she is acquitted from the Ashura Day “rioting” charge, which I don’t believe she will be, possessing that much drugs could lead to the execution by itself.”
Jinoos Sharif Razi said “I have been involved in this case for nearly two months now. All I can say is that this was a very strange case for me; especially as Ms. Bahrami refuted all charges made against her and her prior confessions about the drugs. This case is very complex and dangerous and my only hope is that she receives clemency and is treated with Islamic mercy. That’s my only hope,” said Sharif Razi.
Asked about suspicions that possession of drugs may be a fabricated charge in Zahra Bahrami’s case, her lawyer said: “I really can’t say anything about this, as I entered the case very late. I was not present during the arrest, nor at the time of interrogations, and as I don’t have any reasons, I cannot express an opinion about this, either. I can only say that Ms. Bahami herself brought up the issue of the fabrication during the first trial session and denied possessing drugs. These statements were completely different from her prior confessions.”
Bahrami’s lawyer told the Campaign that her client had made several short trips to Iran after the elections. Regarding the prisoner’s charge of “contact with [pro-Royalist] group, Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran,” Bahrami’s lawyer said: “This charge is only based on her own confessions and there is no other evidence for this other than Ms. Bahrami’s confession. But she, herself, has confessed that she was in touch with this group in London years ago, and after a short while she realized that they were swindlers, as she had supported them financially, and after a while she learned about their fraud. But then she did her best to tell others about this group. She even went to the Iranian Embassy in London to report this story, which they seemingly ignored.”
According to her case file, inside Zahra Bahrami’s home, security forces claimed to have discovered 400 grams of cocaine, and 400 grams of opium. According to the law, possessing more than 30 grams of heroin will have the death penalty. Regarding opium, however, possessing more than 20 kilograms of the substance would lead to the death penalty.