Mothers of Killed Protesters Seek UN Support to Find Their Children’s Murderers
Only two weeks before the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran is to present his report, two mothers of the post-election 2009 victims told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that their search for the murderers of their children has not produced any results. Parvin Fahimi, mother of 19-year-old victim Sohrab Aarabi told the Campaign that if the United Nations cannot do anything in this area, “everything is over then and it’s all pointless.” “From the day Sohrab died, I said that if I cannot find answers in my own country and [if I find that] the official sources in my country are unaccountable, I would have to use international sources,” Fahimi told the Campaign.
Reacting to recent statements made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he said that the BBC television network was responsible for her daughter’s death, Hajar Rostami, mother of Neda Agha Soltan, one of dozens of protesters killed during the 2009 presidential election protests, asked the Iranian president to introduce her daughter’s murderer to her family. “Two years, three months, and two days after my daughter’s death, all I want is to first ask Mr. Ahmadinejad why we should have such lack of security in our country for some to come, kill, and go, without any particular consequences. When, speaking with one of the most reputable media outlets in the world, Mr. Ahmadinejad says that Neda was murdered by the BBC operatives, he must have documents and evidence for his statements. Therefore I want him to introduce those behind my daughter’s death,” she told the Campaign.
Parvin Fahimi, who learned about her son’s death several weeks after his 15 June 2009 disappearance, spoke with the Campaign about her pursuit of identifying her son’s murderer with the Iranian Judiciary. “Unfortunately, in the past two years and several months after the incident, none of the families have received any answers. They say that the murderer is unidentifiable; they just said ‘come get the diya (blood money),’ but we didn’t go … Unfortunately, nobody did anything for us, neither human rights activists, nor our country’s authorities. Now we have to resort to the UN to see whether they would do anything for us. If they cannot do anything , everything is over then and it’s all pointless,” said Fahimi.
Rostami also said that her efforts have been fruitless. “The last answer they gave me was that they had to re-construct Neda’s death scene. I have been waiting for seven months for them to call me so that I can go to the death scene. I have followed up and filed complaints many times without results. Now that Mr. Ahmadinejad has reached this conclusion, I would like to ask him to do this for me for sure and to deliver the murderer to me,” said Rostami.
During her search for her son after his disappearance, Fahimi was referred to the Medical Examiner’s Identification Unit on 11 July 2009 to leaf through a photo album of murdered individuals and it became clear on that day that he was among those killed.
During a September press conference with reporters from 20 American media outlets at his hotel, his eighth trip to the United States since his presidency, he said the 2009 post-election protesters that they were a few rioters who destroyed buildings and put cars on fire. He reported the number of those killed during the protests as only 32.
Referring to the release of the two American hikers, Rostam, said, “I would like to ask Mr. Ahmadinejad to act like Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton, who worked hard for two years to release their two hikers with the help of neighboring countries. I want him to deliver those responsible for my daughter’s death to me.”
Rostami, who was among the first parents to lose a child during the post-election events in 2009, reacted to Ahmadinejad’s statement that only 22 people were killed during the post-election events, comprised of rioters or Basij members. “I have always said and I say it again: Neda left the house to protest and she never returned. Neda was neither a Basij member, nor did she have any reason to wish to vandalize anything.”
Neda Agha Soltan, 27, was shot dead on Tehran’s Amirabad Avenue on Saturday, 20 June 2009 during popular protests against election results. A short video showing her death received widespread international attention. She was the first official victim of the post-election unrest.