Published June 25, 2009
Family members of slain Iranian protester Neda Agha Soltan have been forced by Iranian authorities out of their Tehran home after disturbing and graphic images of her death were viewed around the world.
Neighbors of the family say the four-floor apartment on Meshkini Street, in Eastern Tehran, has been vacated, according to U.K. paper The Guardian. "We just know that they [the family] were forced to leave their flat," a neighbor told The Guardian, but the family was not reached to confirm reports.
Iranian police did not give Soltan’s body to her family, but rather she was buried without her family knowing and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, neighbors told The Guardian.
The Iranian government is now accusing protesters of killing Neda Soltan, attempting to present her as a martyr of Iran’s pro-government Basij militia. Javan, a pro-government newspaper, has even blamed the recently expelled BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, of hiring "thugs" to shoot her so he could make a documentary film, The Guardian reports.
Soltan was fatally shot on Saturday evening near the scene of clashes between pro-government militias and demonstrators, turning her into a peaceful symbol of the Iranian opposition movement. President Barack Obama described the footage capturing Soltan’s final moments as a "searing image."
As the Soltan family mourned the young student’s death, neighbors not only from their building but from others in the area streamed out to protesther death. She became known as the “Angel of Freedom.” But the police moved in quickly to squash any public displays of mourning. They arrived as soon as they found out that a friend of Soltan had come to the family flat.
In accordance with Persian tradition, Soltan’s family had put up a mourning announcement and attached a black banner to the apartment building.