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Dutch government excited about death sentence against its citizen on terrorism charges

The Dutch government tries to find out about a Dutch citizen who has been sentenced to death in Iran on terrorism charges.

Abdoullah Al-Mansouri, who has dual Iranian and Dutch citizenship, was reportedly arrested in Syria last year and turned over to Iranian authorities, who accuse him of terrorism.

His son Adnan, who lives in the Netherlands, was reported as saying his father was forced to make a confession and that he feared he will be executed.

The Dutch branch of human rights group Amnesty International also cited a Syrian rights group as reporting over the weekend that Al-Mansouri had been sentenced to death.

Dutch supporters call Al-Mansouri a human rights activist, and he was given a royal decoration in 2001 for his work. He is reportedly a leader of an opposition group called the Ahwazi Liberation Organization, which supports the Arab Ahwazi people in Iran.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and Dutch diplomats have repeatedly - and unsuccessfully - sought consular access to Al-Mansouri and asked to be present at any legal proceedings against him, said Verhagen's spokesman Bart Rijs.

Verhagen spoke to Iran's ambassador in The Hague last Wednesday after hearing rumors of a sentence last week, Rijs said.

"Minister Verhagen relayed again his concern about the state of Mr. Al-Mansouri and again asked for representatives of Dutch authorities to have access to Mr. Al-Mansouri," Rijs said.

Verhagen also spoke to Iran's foreign minister about Al-Mansouri last month in New York.

"He said to the Iranian colleague that Abdoullah Al-Mansouri as a Dutchman has a right to our help, consular and otherwise," Rijs said.

Despite the lobbying, no Dutch diplomats have been granted access to Al-Mansouri.

Since the last contact between Verhagen and the Iranian ambassador last week, "we have received no new information," Rijs said, adding that the government would be seeking more details, "at the highest level". The Iranian ambassador, who Dutch officials said had promised to ask about the case in Tehran, could not be reached for comment Monday.

"For us, it is important that as a Dutch citizen he has the right to our support," Rijs said. "We are concerned about his fate."

Harry van Bommel of the opposition Socialist Party suggested that Dutch Queen Beatrix appeal to Iran on Al-Mansouri's behalf.

"In this very unusual case ... now may be the moment for the head of state to step in," Van Bommel said.

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