Honoring Iranian Hero Ahmad Batebi at CPAC 2013

The Iranian Student Protests of July, 1999 were the most widespread and violent public protests to occur in Iran before the 2009 Green revolution protests. The protests began on July 8 with peaceful demonstrations in Tehran against the closure of the reformist newspaper, Salam. Following the demonstrations, a student dormitory was raided by riot police that night during which a student was killed. The raid sparked six days of demonstrations and rioting throughout the country, during which at least three other people were killed and more than 200 injured.

In the aftermath of these incidents, more than seventy students disappeared.

Ahmad Batebi– The Face of the Uprising
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Ahmad Batebi was arrested and sentenced to death for his role in the uprising.

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.

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.

In 2008, during a break from his prison sentence to seek medical assistance, Ahmad Batebi fled Iran traveling through a free Iraq to Austria and finally arriving in Washington DC. He was later granted asylum status by the United States government.

Ahmad Batebi arrived in the United States in 2008 after years of torture and imprisonment. Broke, weak and afraid, Batebi has made America his home.

Last week, after years of telling this courageous man’s story and with the help of Banafsheh Zand, I met Ahmad Batebi in Washington DC.  And, on Thursday I dedicated my AIM Reed and Irvine Award to Ahmad Batebi – who was sitting in the front row.
Here is my speech:

Thanks to Tracy Connors

With Ahmad Batebi in Washington DC.
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Longtime GP readers may have noticed that Ahmad Batebi’s picture has been in the banner for several years now.
It was great to finally meet him.

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