Iran must bring Neda`s killer to justice: Amnesty

Last Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 23:20

London: The killer of Neda Agha-Soltan,
whose shooting death during a street protest against last
summer`s Iranian election was flashed around the world on the
Internet, must be brought to justice, Amnesty International
demanded Saturday.

"One year after the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the
failure of Iranian authorities to bring her killer to justice
is a damning example of the culture of impunity that has
widened since the 2009 election protests," Amnesty said on
the eve of her June 20 death.

"Neda`s unlawful killing is emblematic of not only the
numerous human rights violations committed against Iranians
over the past year -- which are still continuing today -- but
also of the government`s steadfast refusal to bring to justice
those responsible for torturing and killing its critics," the
London-based group`s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said in a
statement.

Agha-Soltan, 26, became an icon of the post-election
uprising against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after a
mobile phone video of her bleeding to death during a protest
in Tehran was posted on the Internet.

Dozens of people were reportedly killed in street
battles between security forces and protesters, especially in
Tehran, following an election that reformist leaders charged
had been rigged.

The regime crushed the protests, rounding up pro-reform
politicians and journalists and unleashing the feared Basij
militia on those who dared to demonstrate.

In its 2009 annual report, Amnesty charged that
"compelling evidence emerged that a number of detainees, both
women and men, had been raped and otherwise tortured in
detention."

The authorities reacted furiously to the accusations of
rape, first made by opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi.

But they were forced to admit abuses at Tehran`s
notorious Kahrizak detention centre, which was closed after at
least three protesters died of injuries there.

Iran also has sentenced 10 protesters to death and
hanged seven people on security charges unrelated to the
election but seen as a warning to opposition groups.

Earlier this month, leaders of the pro-democracy Green
Movement that sprouted after the election called off a June 12
rally on the first anniversary of the election, saying they
feared for the safety of protesters.

"Despite the wealth of video-taped evidence and
witnesses, the Iranian authorities have not carried out any
independent investigation into Neda`s death, nor the apparent
deaths of scores of others at the hands of government
forces between June and December 2009," Amnesty said.

"They have denied allegations that the paramilitary
Basij caused Neda`s death and blamed, instead, a range of
people and organisations including the BBC, CNN, the CIA, and
even the doctor who rushed to Neda`s aid when she was shot,"
the rights group said.

PTI




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