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Iran: Whose Martyr is He?

The Iranian pro-regime and opposition forces have each been battling to claim Saleh Jaleh as their martyr. He was killed by gunfire on February 14 when the opposition demonstrated in Tehran and several other cities.

Sane Jaleh, 26, was a student of dramatic literature at Tehran Arts University. A Sunni Muslim, Sane was from Paveh in the Kurdistan Province.

Saleh JalehWhile Iranian pro-government websites claim he was a Basij militia member, killed by the opposition, opposition sites say he was a protester. Both sides accuse each other of trying to steal Saleh's identity.

Pro-regime sites published his photo and his Basij membership card, while opposition sites published a photo of him with the late high ranking cleric, Ayathollah Montazeri, a leading anti-government figure.

Reza Sajadi, the secretary of Tehran Arts University’s Islamic Association, and a close friend of Sane Jaleh, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that despite threats made against him, he strongly denies his friend’s membership in the Basij organization.

On YouTube, a short film titled ‘A Brick in the Wall’ shows Saneh's participation in a film with a protest message, inspired by Pink Floyd's ‘The Wall’.

Greenofred, an Iranian blogger, says [fa] that today the killers’ of Saleh [referring to pro-government's forces] organised the funeral of their victim while security agents did not let Saleh's classmates to leave the university… In an interview with VOA Persian, his brother said that Saleh was not a member of the militia and that it was his pro-government cousin who misused his photo to make a fake Basij card to publish on pro-regime sites… The family is under pressure.

Faryad Sabz also says [fa] Saleh was buried without the presence of his classmates.

Several pro-government bloggers such as Peynevesht tried [fa] to provide answers to the doubts of the authenticity of the Basij card.

Saleh's sad story reminds me of a phrase that I heard at the beginning of a famous Western movie involving bounty hunters: “When life has no value, death gets some.”

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