Fiance of Murdered Iranian Protester Neda 'Freedom Was a Very Big Issue for Her'

Months after her murder in Tehran, little has been done to investigate the circumstances of Iranian protester Neda Agha-Soltan's death. Her former fiance, Caspian Makan, who fled the country to avoid being part of a show trial, says he hopes the United Nations and other international organizations will challenge the Iranian government.

Iranian student Neda Agha-Soltan after being shot in Tehran on June 20, 2009
AFP

Iranian student Neda Agha-Soltan after being shot in Tehran on June 20, 2009


SPIEGEL: Your fiancee is considered the icon of the Iranian opposition movement. How deeply was Neda really involved in the "Green Movement"?

Caspian Makan: Neda wasn't actually politically active. She first got started after the protests began. One of the last things she said was: "Everyone must do something."

SPIEGEL: What motivated her?

Makan: She suffered under the regime. As a student, she was patronized and told what to do: How she should wear her headscarf, what make-up and what kind of lipstick was allowed. Freedom was a very big issue for her.

SPIEGEL: Were you and Neda aware of the danger?

Makan: We had a feeling that something would happen. I wanted to keep her from protesting, but Neda said: Even if I get hit by a bullet, the freedom of my people is more important.

SPIEGEL: What did you know about the perpetrator and the people commanding him?

Makan: Neda's death was not the act of an individual -- the entire regime is responsible. The leaders wanted to eliminate opponents like Neda in a targeted manner. The perpetrator was detained by the people who had been standing around Neda. His identity card showed that he was a Basij, a militia member. The witnesses still have his identity card -- the name isn't necessarily real, but the photo matches the perpetrator. The culprit also had an accomplice, but in the end both men were able to get away.

SPIEGEL: Do you still have hope that Neda's death will be investigated?

Makan: My hope is that international organizations like the United Nations will pursue the murder of Neda and other protesters and charge the regime.

SPIEGEL: You yourself were also persecuted ...

Makan: I was a reporter and I took photos of the demonstrations in full view of everyone. After Neda's death, I was condemned by the regime and its leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. I was then arrested and spent 65 days in Evin Prison. I was only released on bail, and my family had to put up their house as collateral for my freedom. Two months after my release, I fled through the mountains to Turkey. I now live as a political refugee in Canada.

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