“I Vehemently Deny His Being A Basiji,” says Sane Jaleh’s Close Friend
Reza Sajadi, Secretary of Tehran Arts University’s Islamic Association, and a close friend of Sane Jaleh, a victim of the 14 February demonstrations, told the International Campaigns for Human Rights in Iran that despite threats made on him, he strongly denies his friend’s membership in the Basij Organization. “I was Sane’s close and intimate friend. I vehemently deny his being a Basiji. At least, he was not a Basiji during his university education. He was just a simple member of the University’s Islamic Association. Now, if he was a Basij member before his college life, I don’t know about it. His photographs with Ayatollah Montazeri, which we distributed today, are my evidence for what I say,” he said.
Sane Jaleh, 26, was a student of dramatic literature at the Tehran Arts University. A Sunni Muslim, Sane was from Paveh in Kurdistan Provice. He was killed from a bullet wound on the eve of 14 February.
“I was out of town yesterday, and I returned early in the morning today. So I didn’t see him [yesterday], but others say that he left the dormitory yesterday at 6:00 p.m., saying he was going to take a look around on the streets to see what was happening, pick up something for dinner, and come back. He left but never came back,” said Reza Sajadi about Jaleh’s activities yesterday.
“A few hours later, someone called one of his friends on his cell phone and told him that he had found his [Sane’s] cell phone and clothes, and gave him an address for picking up his things. But the guys didn’t trust this guy, so they told him to send the things with a courier, and that they would pay for the cost. A little after this call, a rumor started circulating around the dormitory about his arrest. It appears that they picked this [rumor] up from the University’s Basij guys. After all these rumors, they thought that he must have been arrested if he had not returned after midnight. But we read on Fars News in the morning that he was shot dead,” Sajadi added.
“It was amusing that we all heard about Sane’s death through Fars News Agency. But at 7:00 a.m.–think about it, 7:00 a.m.–there were signs posted all over the campus walls, the cinema, the theater, and the Applied University, and even in the University’s Karaj Campus, which said that he was a Basiji student who had memorized the Qoran, and that he was made a martyr by the sedition elements. I don’t understand how they figured all of this out within a few hours, when we did not know any of it during the four years we went to college together! In just a few hours, the Iranian television broadcast a documentary film on him, claiming that he was a Basiji and that he had memorized the Qoran. I deny all of that. It is my human responsibility to tell the truth, whatever the consequences; it does not matter anymore,” said Sane Jaleh’s close friend.
“I ask you a question. What do you think someone who participated in the 14 February demonstrations would think about the Green Movement and what has been happening over the past two years? Actions represent an individual’s thinking,” said Secretary of the Tehran Arts University’s Islamic Association.
“People can put the photographs we published of him today in the company of the late Ayatollah Montazeri, side by side of his Basij identification card, also published today, and judge whether he was a Basiji or a member of the University’s Islamic Association. These pictures are also available on the official website of Ayatollah Montazeri. Tomorrow we will publish other pictures of him with Saeed Hajarian. People can make their own judgment,” said Reza Sajadi.
“He was active in Mousavi’s election campaign in 2009. He also participated in the Islamic Association’s activities, but he was an ordinary member of the Islamic Association and his activities were limited to activities such as putting up posters. He also participated in our Association’s elections-related visits, such as our meeting with Ayatollah Montazeri. Most of his activities were in the artistic arena. He had just chosen dramatic literature as his minor. He was a very intelligent individual. When he read the plays aloud in class, everyone enjoyed it. On Sundays, he had a play reading meeting with some others. He was mostly interested in the arts,” said Reza Sajadi about Sane Jaleh’s political activities.
About Jaleh’s family, Reza Sajadi said: “We tried to contact them in Paveh, but they didn’t answer their telephone. But we heard that they are coming to Tehran tonight to take his body.”
Asked whether as Sane Jaleh’s close friend, he was being threatened after sharing information about him, he said: “Very much. But when you have no other choice, you have to speak up. I didn’t want to interview at all. But when I saw that they are denying the photographs we took and are saying that they were fabricated, when they try to turn the day into night, I have to speak up. We will see what happens to me,” said Reza Sajadi, Sane Jaleh’s close friend.
“The University was closed today. There were no classes. All the University students from Cinema, Theater, Music, Visual Arts, Architecture, and Applied all gathered inside the Applied University. Everybody was dumbfounded. I went up and explicitly denied his having been a Basiji. I told them these things won’t stick to him. Someone’s life should not be used for political and factional objectives. His photos with [Ayatollah] Montazeri were distributed there. I objected to the University management, too, because I couldn’t find any of them among the crowd. Then they took me to the University Security Office. There were some people there from the outside; I think they were from the Intelligence Ministry, I don’t know. I was interrogated at two stages. The first time was with verbal abuse and profanities. They said that I was acting against the regime. I said I am not doing any such thing, you are lying,” said Sajadi.
“Tomorrow, there will be a hearse from the Arts University toward Tehran University. All of us said we would go, but if they want to take advantage again and introduce us as others, we will return to our college. The Art University’s Islamic Association will have a [memorial] program for Sane Jaleh between 12 and 2 p.m. tomorrow,” he added about Sane Jaleh’s funeral ceremonies.