네다 아가 솔탄(Neda Agha Soltan)이 살해당한 지 1년, 그녀를 살해한 범인에 대한 사법적 심판을 하지 못한 이란 정부는 2009년 선거 시위 이후 악화되고 있는 불처벌의 문화를 잘 보여주고 있다며 국제앰네스티가 말했다.
당시 27세였던 네다 아가 솔탄은 2009년 6월 20일 테헤란 중심가에서 평화 시위를 마치고 떠나던 중 총을 맞고 사망했다. 길바닥에 쓰러지는 그녀를 돕기 위해 주위에서 사람들이 달려오는 모습이 담긴 영상이 전세계적으로 퍼져나갔고, 그녀는 시위 운동의 상징이 됐다.
국제앰네스티 하시바 하지 사라위(Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui) 중동 및 북아프리카 부국장은 “네다의 불법적 살해는 작년부터 지금까지 이란인들이 겪고 있는 수많은 인권침해 사례뿐만 아니라 비판적인 사람들을 고문하고 살해한 자들에 대한 책임을 묻지 않겠다는 정부의 태도를 상징한다”고 말했다.
증거가 될만한 영상자료와 증인이 넘쳐남에도 불구하고 이란 당국은 네다의 죽음 및 2009년 6~9월 3개월 간 정부군에 의해 목숨을 잃은 이들에 대해 그 어떠한 독립적 조사에도 착수하지 않았다.
이란 당국은 네다가 바시지(Basij) 준군사부대에 의해 목숨을 잃었다는 주장을 거부하고 BBC, CNN, 미국중앙정보부(CIA) 등에 책임을 돌리는가 하면, 총에 맞은 네다를 돕기 위해 달려갔던 의사에게까지 책임을 돌렸다.
사라위 부국장은 “네다의 죽음에 대한 정부의 반응은 냉소적인 체면 살리기에 불과했다”며 “이것을 볼 때 이란 당국이 법을 고려하지 않고 자신의 이름으로 저지르는 범죄들에 대해 책임을 지지 않는 것은 너무나도 당연하다”고 말했다.
이어서 사라위 부국장은 “이란 당국은 자신들의 책임을 입증하는 증거를 없앤다고 해서 이란인들을 잠재울 수 없다”며 “이들은 네다 및 다른 사람들을 위한 진실과 사법적 정의를 끝까지 요구할 것이다”고 말했다.
Iran must bring Neda’s killer to justice
20 June 2010
One year after the killing of Neda Agha Soltan, the failure of Iranian authorities to bring her killer to justice is a damning example of the culture of impunity that has widened since the 2009 election protests, said Amnesty International.
Neda Agha Soltan, then 27, was shot in central Tehran on 20 June 2009 as she left a peaceful demonstration. A video clip of her dying on the pavement as bystanders came to her aid, was circulated around the world, making her an icon of the protest movement.
“Neda’s unlawful killing is emblematic of not only the numerous human rights violations committed against Iranians over the past year – which are still continuing today – but also of the government’s steadfast refusal to bring to justice those responsible for torturing and killing its critics,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Despite the wealth of video-taped evidence and witnesses, the Iranian authorities have not carried out any independent investigation into Neda’s death, nor the apparent deaths of scores of others at the hands of government forces between June and December 2009.
The authorities have denied allegations that the paramilitary Basij caused Neda’s death and blamed, instead, a range of people and organizations including the BBC, CNN, the CIA, and even the doctor who rushed to Neda’s aid when she was shot.
“The government’s response to Neda’s killing has been a cynical face-saving exercise,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui. “It is all too typical of the wider failure of the Iranian authorities to observe the rule of law, and to ensure accountability for the crimes that continue to be committed in its name.”
Amnesty International has renewed its call on the Iranian government to allow an independent inquiry into the deaths and abuses that took place during and after the demonstrations, including an investigation into Neda’s killing.
It has also called for UN human rights experts to be allowed into Iran. Despite a standing invitation issued by the government to the UN, no UN human rights visits have been allowed to Iran since 2005. At least five requests to visit made by UN human rights experts have remained unanswered.
“The authorities should know that their attempts to brush away the evidence pointing to their responsibility will not silence Iranians, who continue to demand truth and justice for the deaths of Neda and many others,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Neda Agha Soltan’s alleged shooter was briefly held at the scene of the shooting by protesters, but information on his identity has been ignored by judicial authorities. The man was allegedly carrying ID of the Basij, the armed paramilitary force heavily employed by the authorities to repress the demonstrations. Witnesses have reported that he shouted out “I did not mean to kill her”.
The deaths of up to 80 people – and possibly many more – during and after the demonstrations, including as a result of torture in detention, have mostly not been investigated. Independent inquiries into excessive use of force, rape, and other forms of torture while in custody have not been carried out.
Instead, the authorities have threatened those who have alleged violations, arrested some who have tried to uncover the truth and sought to discredit others who have tried to bring evidence forth.
Investigations into post-election abuses, where conducted, have been inadequate, not transparent and appear to make low-ranking officials scapegoats for the abuses that took place.
The campaign to demand accountability for the post-election abuses has been led by the Mourning Mothers group, which is made up of mothers whose children have been killed, disappeared or detained during violence following the election.
Amnesty International’s June 2010 report Iran: From protest to prison: Iran one year after the election, documents a widening crackdown on dissent that has left journalists, students, political and rights activists as well as clerics languishing in prisons.