The Times: The man accused of killing Neda Soltan has been identified as Abbas Kargar Javid, a pro-government militiaman, after photographs of the Basiji’s ID cards appeared on the internet.
The man accused of killing Neda Soltan has been identified as Abbas Kargar Javid, a pro-government militiaman, after photographs of the Basiji’s ID cards appeared on the internet.
The identification challenges the Iranian regime’s claim that foreign agents shot the young woman, who became a global symbol of resistance to the Government of President Ahmadinejad.
One picture appears on Mr Javid’s Basij identification card, which was taken off him by the crowd that stopped him briefly when he fled the murder scene during a massive demonstration against electoral fraud on June 20.
Photographs of that card and another that was issued by the Interior Ministry have been posted on the internet, and the doctor who tried to save Ms Soltan as she lay dying on a Tehran pavement has confirmed that they show the man who was stopped.
“I can testify for certain that it is the same person,” Arash Hejazi told The Times.
Dr Hejazi said that he had checked with others who witnessed Mr Javid’s detention and they, too, had confirmed that it was the same man. He expressed disgust that a regime that had detained, tortured and killed so many peaceful demonstrators in the past ten weeks had — as far as he knew — taken no action against Mr Javid. “That’s how fair the situation is in Iran right now,” he said.
The regime has put blame for Ms Soltan’s murder on fellow demonstrators, the CIA, hostile foreign governments including Britain, and even the BBC, whose Tehran correspondent, Jon Leyne, was accused of organising the shooting to get good pictures.
Dr Hejazi, a student at Oxford Brookes University, had returned to Iran for a business trip after the June 12 election but he fled after featuring prominently in the video of Ms Soltan’s last moments.
In an interview with The Times after reaching Britain, Dr Hejazi told how Ms Soltan was shot by a basij on a motorbike. As she lay dying, a crowd of demonstrators caught the militiaman and he heard him shouting: “I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t want to kill her. I meant to shoot her in the leg.”
Dr Hejazi said that some of the crowd wanted to lynch him but others were saying: “We’re not killers. Don’t harm him.” All agreed that there was no point in handing him over to the police, so they took his identification cards and let him go.
Brigadier-General Esmail Ahmadi- Moqaddam, the police chief of Iran, has since accused Dr Hejazi of conspiring with the Islamic Republic’s foreign enemies. He faces certain prosecution if he returns home. His British visa expires in January and he is considering whether to seek political asylum for himself, his wife and their infant son.
In the meantime, he says, “I am here, I see my countrymen suffering so much and the Western media going silent. People are still doing all they can to show their contempt for this fraudulent Government and putting their lives on the line, but no one is listening. I feel really frustrated and sad.”
Dr Hejazi has been told that opposition supporters found Mr Javid’s telephone number and started calling him to vent their anger but the line has now been disconnected.
That apart, Mr Javid appears to have killed Ms Soltan with complete impunity.