The story of "Neda," a young woman slain in the Iranian uprising, has galvanized protesters against Iran's hardline government.
The doctor seen on a chilling video vainly aiding "Neda," the Iranian woman shot dead as she protested the nation's presidential election, has fled his homeland in fear for his life.
Arash Hejazi, an Iranian who lives in Britain but was in Tehran on business when the protests and subsequent government crackdown broke out, said he is haunted by the woman who died in his arms, according to Reuters. Video of Neda Soltan's death from a government sniper's bullet has been seen around the world on the Internet, making the 26-year-old woman a martyr for the cause of freedom in Iran.
"I felt she was trying to ask a question, 'Why?'," Hejazi, 38, told the Times of London, recalling Neda's final moments lying bloody in a street.
"She was just a person in the street who was against the injustice going on in her country, and for that she was murdered," said Hejazi, an Iranian who is resident in Britain but says he went to Tehran on a business trip.
Hejazi said Neda Agha Soltan was killed by a government militiaman.
Hejazi said he fled Iran because he feared his own life might be in danger since he is seen in the video.
The hardline government in Iran has cracked down brutally on protesters who say the the June 12 election was rigged to return Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office. The international media has been barred from reporting from inside the country, but at least 20 people and possibly many, many more, have been killed by government militia and riot police.
The government has sought to prevent funerals which could draw more attention to its harsh tactics, and Neda's own family was not permitted to mourn her, according to The Guardian. The British paper reported that the Iranian government would not turn her body over to the family, and even forced Neda's clan out of its home in Tehran.