Iran Pursuing Doctor Who Helped Neda, But Interpol Denies Knowledge
Neda Agha-Soltan in an undated photograph
(RFE/RL) -- Iran's police chief says a doctor who was present at the death of a
young Iranian woman during opposition street protests in Tehran is under
investigation by both Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and by the international
policy agency Interpol.
Interpol, however, denies any knowledge of the case.
Police Chief Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam told reporters in Tehran that the shooting
of Neda Agha-Soltan "was a pre-planned scenario" to harm Iran's image. He denied
that police or Basij forces were involved in her shooting.
Neda, a 26-year-old music student, was shot in the chest on June 20 during
clashes between supporters of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein
Musavi and riot police and Basij militia.
Neda has since become an icon of opposition protests against official results of
the June 12 presidential election, decisively won by incumbent President Mahmud
Ahmadinejad in the first round. The opposition alleges that the vote was rigged.
Dr. Arash Hejazi, 37, is pictured on the video trying to help Neda during her
last moments. Hejazi has since fled Iran. He has since confirmed his
presence at the scene and has been quoted as saying that Neda was killed by a
member of the Basij.
Contacted on July 2 by RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Interpol said it had not received
any requests from Iranian authorities for information or assistance related to
Hejazi or Neda's death.
Interpol also affirmed that it "does not itself investigate or prosecute
crimes..." and that "...these are done by the national police in each of our member
countries in accordance with their own national legislations."
Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, an Iranian lawyer and expert on Iranian law, confirmed
to Radio Farda that "in order to assist in, or to accept the request of, the
arrest of a criminal, Interpol needs to have a request from a member country.
The request should be based on legally documented proof and evidence by the
government, and in accordance with international conventions, to avoid
governments' unjust prosecutions."
In this particular case, Aghasi said, Hejazi could be arrested and charged with
"propaganda against the regime" or "disturbance of people's minds," charges used
by the Iranian judiciary in political or security cases.
But Aghasi noted that these charges are not recognized internationally.
Ahmadinejad sent a letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi
requesting a serious investigation to help identify "the elements" behind Neda's
Radio Farda's Parnaz Azima contributed to this story.
Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org