Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
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JULY 4, 2009 12:40PM

Iran's Press TV Admits Interpol Error

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In a rare turnaround, Iran's Press TV has admitted it was incorrect in reporting earlier this week that Interpol was investigating the death of Neda Agha-Soltan.

Press TV reported  last Wednesday that Interpol was assisting the government of Iran in seeking the whereabouts of Dr. Arash Hejazi, the Iranian writer and physician seen on video attending to the injured Soltan after she was hit by a bullet to the chest in the streets of Tehran.  Dr. Hejazi returned to London several days after the shooting of the 26-year-old girl and gave an extensive interview to the BBC.  The well known head of a publishing house in Iran, Caravan Publishing, Hejazi is currently studying in England.

Interpol has denied any involvement with the investigation or any request from the government of Iran to be involved.  A spokesperson for Interpol reaffirmed  that the agency does not investigate or prosecute crimes, and that these are done by "national police in each of our member countries in accordance with their own national legislations."   Iranian legal expert Mohammed Hossein Aghasi told Radio Farda that any charges for which Hejazi might possibly be sought by Iranian authorities, "propaganda against the regime" or "disturbance of people's minds" are not recognized by international law, adding that a request to Interpol by a member government would have to be accompanied by "legally documented proof and evidence by the government, and in accordance with international conventions, to avoid governments' unjust prosecutions."

Iranian authorities have repeatedly suggested since the videotaped death of Neda circulated worldwide that it was "suspicious" and possibly orchestrated.  Dr. Hejazi claims he only attempted to give aid to a dying person at the scene, and has not committed any crime.  The previous report of Interpol's involvement came from the chief of Iranian police, Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam.

A day after reporting that Interpol was involved in seeking the whereabouts of Dr. Hejazi or assisting Iranian authorities in the investigation, Press TV reversed itself and reported on Thursday that Interpol spokesperson Rachel Billington in France had "flatly denied" any such involvement. 

 

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