Thursday, July 9, 2009

Neda (Iran)

The death of Neda Agha-Soltan drew international attention when her death was captured on video by bystanders and broadcast over the internet. The video quickly became a rallying point for the reformist opposition.

On 20 June 2009, Neda was sitting in traffic on Kargar Avenue in the city of TehranShe was accompanied by her music teacher and close friend, Hamid Panahi, and two others, who remain unidentified. The four were on their way to participate in the protests against the outcome of the 2009 Iranian presidential elections.
She stopped her car some distance from where the main protests were being held that day and got out on foot in order to escape the heat because the car's air conditioner was not working well. She was standing and observing the sporadic protests in the area when she was shot in the chest.

As captured on amateur video, she collapsed to the ground and was tended to for several seconds. Someone in the crowd around her shouted, "She has been shot! Someone, come and take her!" The videos were accompanied by a message from a doctor, later identified as Dr. Arash Hejazi, who said he had been present during the incident (but has since fled Iran out of fear of government reprisals):

"At 19:05 June 20th Place: Kargar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st. A young woman who was standing aside with her father [sic, later identified as her music teacher] watching the protests was shot by a Basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim’s chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes. The protests were going on about one kilometer away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gas used among them, towards Salehi St. The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me."

Her last words were, "I'm burning, I'm burning!"] She was pronounced dead en route to Tehran's Shariati hospital, aged 27.

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