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Families of Protesters Killed in Iran: No Accountability, Only Threats

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz online

More than 72 individuals lost their lives in post-election protests in Iran but, nine months after the electoral coup, none of the murderers have been identified and the Islamic Republic officials do not regard themselves to be accountable for the deaths. Rooz has spoken with the families of the killed protesters about their complaints, the responsiveness of officials, and threats and pressures facing them. The families, whose numbers are increasing as the popular protests continue, are under enormous pressure not to investigate the deaths of their loved ones.

A green protester killed in Tehran during protests in June 2009

Since the beginning, the families of killed protesters have been under enormous pressure not to disseminate information about their loved ones, and were prevented even from holding memorial gatherings. Under the pressure of the country's security and intelligence apparatus, many of the families were afraid even to release the identity of the dead protesters. As a result, after nine months, the identity of some martyrs remains unknown.

On the other hand, none of the families were provided with an explanation about the loss of their loved one. Many of the death certificates show the cause of death to be inconclusive. In some cases, the death certificate cites brain stroke or heart attack as the cause of death. The corpses of all of the martyrs were examined and the bullets removed from their bodies before being handed over to the families.

The families of many of the martyrs were forced to sign documents outlining the procedures for the burial of their loves ones, as well to forego "complaints against officials." In some cases, the families were forced to write a letter identifying Mir-Hossein Mousavi as responsible for their children's death.

Despite the pressure, the families of the green martyrs filed complaints against the judiciary after the burial of their loves ones, seeking answers and demanding punishment of the murderers. The pressure, however, continues in various forms. Threatening telephone calls, summons and threats of killing other family members are among the intimidation tactics used in recent months. The complains, however, are ignored, with some families having been officially told that their complaints will never be processed.

Hajar Rostami-Motlagh, Neda Agha-Soltan's mother, tells Rooz about the judiciary's failure to identify her daughter's murdered.

Hajar Rostami-Motlagh, Neda Agha-Soltan's mother

She tells Rooz, "We don't expect to reach a result because 8-9 months have passed. If our complaints were going to be processed they would have been processed by now."

Neda Agha-Soltan's mother points to contradictory statements made by officials about her daughter's murder: "The officials have said many things about Neda so far, and say something new every day. Their contradictory statements reveal what in reality took place."

Mrs. Rostami-Motlagh declares, "I want my daughter's murderer to be identified. They must identify and put that person on trial."

Islamic Republic officials have so far blamed Neda's murder on anti-revolutionary and foreign agents, and called it a staged murder at a different time. These claims have not been accepted by the domestic and international public opinion.

... Payvand News - 03/04/10 ... --

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