During his studies at the University of Tehran Ahmad Batebi gained international fame for his appearance on the July 17, 1999 cover of The Economist magazine, holding up a shirt splattered with the blood of a fellow protester. Human Rights activist Shirin Ebadi reports that the shirt belonged to Ezzat Ebrahim-Nejad, a student who was shot and killed reportedly by a plainclothes police or vigilante.
The photo, which has been called “an icon for Iran’s student reform movement”, was taken during the Iranian Student Protests in July 1999 in Tehran. Following its publishing, Batebi was arrested, tried in closed-door proceedings, found guilty of “creating street unrest”, and sentenced to death.
This was reduced to 15 years after domestic and international outcry.Less well-known are persistent reports of torture and ill-treatment of Batebi in prison, and his resulting poor physical and mental health. While temporarily released from prison to receive medical attention, Batebi was able to flee Iran into Iraq , then Austria and then United States where he was granted asylum.
Other speakers at the Wall of The Shame Rally were Ex-Political prisoner Kianoosh Sanjari, Dr. Ramin Ahmadi with Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Pastor Reza F. Safa founder of Christian Satellite network in Farsi Nejat TV, Furugh Arghavan from the International committee against Execution and stoning, and the Honourable Dr. David Kilgour ex Canadian Member of Parliament and director of Council for a Community of Democracies.
In her myspace blog Nazanin Afshin-Jam writes: “It was very important for me to have true voices of Iranians share their experiences and knowledge of the brutalities and human rights abuses that take place in Iran like executions, stoning, political prisoners, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, curtailment of the freedom of press and of course women’s rights. I also thought it was very important to gather Iranians from one side of the political spectrum to the other and everything in between, as a symbolic gesture to prove that in the face of human rights we stand united together. We all have the same dream for Iran’s future: a country that is free, democratic, equal, the rule of law, separation between religion and state, and a constitution based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
want, one of the forefathers of Persia, Cyrus the Great, who founded the first charter of Human Rights the world has ever known, to be proud that his people have followed his legacy.
I made a disclaimer in my speech by saying that by demonizing the regime, by NO MEANS am I advocating for war or any type of conflict or military intervention on Iran. It would only play into the hands of the mullahs and wipe out any advancement made by human rights activists thus far in Iran. The only long term solution for peace and stability in the Middle East, and world security is by empowering Iran’s civil society, the women, the students, labour unions and the life.
I concluded the rally by reminding how much power we have as individual to make change in this world. Together, united, with enough pressure and collaboration we will be able to stop putting on band aid solutions; rather we will be able to help empower the Iranian people to gain a democratic system whereby they can chose their own leaders and their own destiny“