Thursday, June 25, 2009

To conceal the truth Iran brutalizes and humiliates the family of its most famous victim

The actual results of the election in Iran is no longer the point in the struggle between the opposition and the government, owing to the behavior of the government. The response of the government has been [a] to deny any need for a serious recount [instead it offers to recount only a few of the precincts, and even then selectively], [b] to bully the public into submission, and [c] to claim that the whole affair was created by outsiders. Total denial.

Repressive regimes flaunt their lunacy. To make sure the Iranian government embarrassed its own claims to legitimacy it publicly dismantled all semblance of concern for its own citizenry by the way it treated the family of Neda Soltan. Neda's offense was to allow herself to be murdered by Iran's paramilitary Basij in front of the cameras of her friends -- and so to become the world-renown emblem of Iranian repression. The family was then forced to suffer further owing to Neda's "offense". Here is The Guardian's report on how the Iranian government treated Neda's family:

Neda Soltan's family 'forced out of home' by Iranian authorities

> The family were banned from mourning and funeral services were cancelled. "The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world."

> In accordance with Persian tradition, the family had put up a mourning announcement and attached a black banner to the building. But the police took them down, refusing to allow the family to show any signs of mourning. The next day they were ordered to move out.

> Since then, neighbors have received suspicious calls warning them not to discuss her death with anyone and not to make any protest.

> A neighbor said her own family had not slept for days because of the oppressive presence of the Basij militia, were were "in the area harassing people since Soltan's death." "We are trembling," another neighbor said. "We are still afraid. We haven't had a peaceful time in the last days, let alone her family. Nobody was allowed to console her family, they were alone, they were under arrest and their daughter was just killed. I can't imagine how painful it was for them. Her friends came to console her family but the police didn't let them in and forced them to disperse and arrested some of them. Neda's family were not even given a quiet moment to grieve."

> Another man said "Neda's family was forced to be alone, otherwise the whole of Iran would gather here," he said. "The government is terrible, they are even accusing pro-Mousavi people of killing Neda and have just written in their websites that Neda is a Basiji (government militia) martyr. That's ridiculous – if that's true why don't they let her family hold any funeral or ceremonies? Since the election, you are not able to trust one word from the government."

> A shop keeper who knew her said, "She was a kind, innocent girl. She treated me well and I appreciated her behaviour. I was surprised when I found out that she was killed by the riot police. ... She has been sacrificed for the government's vote-rigging in the presidential election."

> The police did not hand the body back to her family. They buried it without the family knowing it.

> The government now accuses protesters of being the killers of Soltan, describing her as a martyr of the Basij militia.

> Also, a pro-government newspaper has blamed the recently expelled BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, of hiring "thugs" to shoot her so he could make a documentary film.

[Click on the title for a link to the whole article.]

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