Election outrage that turned Neda into a political protester
Wednesday 24 June 2009
They banned memorial services, told friends not to speak publicly, and made her family tear down mourning banners from the front of their house. But Iran's authorities were unable to stifle the story of a young woman called Neda, who was shot and killed as she arrived at a demonstration in central Tehran on Saturday.
Friends of the protester, who became an overnight figurehead of the popular uprising after shaky video footage emerged of her lying in the street with blood gushing from a bullet wound in her chest, defied the orders of their government tell the world about her short life and tragic death.
She was called Neda Angha-Soltan, they revealed, aged 26, a graduate of Tehran's Azad University, with a passion for music and travel. She recently returned from a beach holiday in Turkey and was training to become a tourist guide, hoping one day to lead groups of Iranian holidaymakers on visits overseas. Hamad Panahi, Neda's music teacher, who witnessed her death and was among mourners at her family home at the weekend, told the Los Angeles Times she was killed after agreeing to accompany him and two other friends to a protest on Saturday evening in the city's Freedom Square. Their car had become stuck in traffic on Karegar Street, near to the demonstration, at around 6.30pm. They jumped out of the vehicle to stretch their legs, and were trying to see what was going on, when he heard a gunshot. Soon afterwards, Panahi realised that Neda had suddenly slumped to the ground. "We got out and stood to watch, and without her throwing a rock or anything they shot her," he recalled. "It was just one bullet." Her final words were: "I'm burning, I'm burning!"
Like many supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, she came from a middle-class background: the second of three children of a civil servant. She had never previously been politically active, but began attending mass protests because she was outraged by the election results. "She was a person full of joy," said Panahi. "She was a beam of light. I'm so sorry. All she wanted was the proper vote of the people to be counted."
Defending his decision to ignore the Islamic regime's demands for a news blackout on Neda's death, he said: "This is a crime against humanity... When they kill an innocent child, this is not justice. This is not religion. And I'm certain that the one who shot her will not get a pass from God."
Meanwhile, at a news conference in Washington, President Obama described footage of the incident as "heartbreaking", adding: "While this loss is raw and painful, we also know this: those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history."
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...