Election outrage that turned Neda into a political protester

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."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

Female PE Teacher

£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering