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Gravestone Of Slain Iranian Protester Neda Vandalized

Source: RFE/RL

The fiance of the iconic slain Iranian protester Neda says her gravestone has been vandalized, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. Caspian Makan told Radio Farda from Vancouver that the grave of Neda Agha Soltan was found vandalized on December 31. He said this was not the first time the gravestone had been desecrated.

Neda's tombstone photographed after the alleged vandalism

The 27-year-old Neda was shot dead during postelection protests in June. Her final moments, captured on video, became a symbol of the Iranian government's heavy-handed response to protests following the June presidential election.

The tombstone, which is engraved with an image of Neda's face, was pockmarked with holes. Makan suspects the damage was caused by bullets.

Makan told Radio Farda that the grave is in a guarded section of the cemetery, so any damage could not have occurred without the knowledge of cemetery officials.

Makan blamed "those who opened fire on Neda and others" as responsible for the latest vandalism. "Whenever this kind of thing happens, it becomes clear that the Islamic republic does such acts of desecration, but they refuse to accept responsibility," he said.

Vandalizing gravestones has been a tactic reportedly used against government opponents since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Makan says that the latest vandalism does not astonish him, given that authorities have yet to acknowledge the circumstances in which he believes his fiancee was killed.

Related Article: Iran State TV Suggests Neda's Iconic Protest Death Was 'Faked'

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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