'Iran charges slain man's family $3,000 for bullets that killed him'
Defeated candidate Karoubi calls nationwide memorial for victims, despite ban on public mourning.
The family of an Iranian man killed in a demonstration against the country's contested presidential election has been ordered to pay the equivalent of $3,000 for the bullets that took his life, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Kaveh Alipour, 19, was shot in the head in downtown Tehran on Saturday during one of the most violent clashes between protesters and security forces since the riots began last week.
Iranian authorities later told the family they would not turn over the slain man's body for burial until they received compensation for the bullets security forces used to shoot him.
Officials finally surrendered the request after the family argued it did not have that much money in possession, but said that the man could not be buried within the city limits.
Iranian authorities, meanwhile, have found another way to combat the opposition movement demonstrating against the contested presidential elections, besides making threats and firing live rounds at protesters.
All mosques in Tehran have been prohibited from holding memorials or publicly mourning the deaths of the riot victims, it emerged on Monday. According to official count in Tehran, 17 people have been killed in more than a week of demonstrations.
Nevertheless, Iran's defeated moderate candidate Mehdi Karoubi has called on Iranians to hold mourning ceremonies on Thursday for killed protesters, an aide told Reuters on Tuesday.
"Karoubi calls on Iranians around the country to hold ceremonies on Thursday to remember those at protests," said Issa Saharkhiz.
Demonstrators have been gathering almost daily in Tehran since authorities said incumbent President Ahmadinejad had easily defeated challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi in the June 12 vote.
An amateur video released on Saturday capturing the violent death of a young woman has become the iconic image of the country's opposition movement and unleashed a flood of outrage at the regime's crackdown.
The footage, less than a minute long, appears to capture 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan's lying in the street, blood streaming from her nose and mouth moments after she was shot at a protest. The image is a powerful example of citizens' ability to document events inside Iran despite government restrictions on foreign media and Internet and phone lines.
Warning: This video contains scenes of graphic violence
Her fiance, Caspian Makan, told BBC Persian TV about the circumstances of Neda's death, saying that "She was near the area, a few streets away, from where the main protests were taking place, near the Amir-Abad area. She was with her music teacher, sitting in a car and stuck in traffic."
"The authorities are aware that everybody in Iran and throughout the whole world knows about her story. So that's why they didn't want a memorial service. They were afraid that lots people could turn up at the event. So as things stand now, we are not allowed to hold any gatherings to remember Neda," he added.
The limits imposed amid the unrest over the disputed election make details of the woman's life and events immediately preceding her apparent death difficult to confirm. But clips of the woman being called Neda are among the most viewed items on YouTube - with untold numbers of people passing along the amateur videos through social networks and watching them on television.
The images entered wide circulation Saturday when two distinct videos purporting to show her death appeared separately on YouTube and Facebook.
They show people trying desperately to treat the woman, who is clad in blue jeans, white sneakers, a black jacket and the headscarf required by Iran's Islamic dress code. Her eyes roll back and blood squirts from her nose, pouring across her face as those trying to help her scream.
"Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid, Neda dear, don't be afraid," a white-haired man in a striped shirt repeats throughout the longer of the videos, his voice escalating throughout.
People posting the video say the woman was shot by a member of the pro-government Basij militia. That information could not be independently verified: Reporters for foreign news organizations have been barred from reporting on the streets of Tehran, and the Iranian government has not released any information about her death.
An acquaintance of her family said Neda worked part-time at a travel agency in Iran and that the government barred the family from holding a public funeral Monday. The acquaintance spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared government reprisal. The Iranian government has banned all public gatherings, though there was no specific information about funerals for those killed in recent clashes.
Although the Iranian government has blocked many Web sites including Facebook and has jammed satellite television signals, the videos of the woman's death have been circulating inside the country. People have used anti-filtering software to download them. Some Iranians have uploaded the footage to their cell phones and used Bluetooth technology to share it.
The bloody imagery alone could have an important impact on public opinion in Iran, where the idea of martyrdom resonates deeply among a populace steeped in the stories and imagery of Shiite Islam, a faith founded on the idea of self-sacrifice in the cause of justice.
The deaths of protesters during the 1979 Islamic Revolution fueled a cycle of mourning marches that contributed to the overthrow of the U.S.-backed dictator, Shah Reza Pahlavi.
Thousands of people inside and outside Iran have written online tributes to the woman, many condemning the government and praising her as a martyr. Some posted photos of a gently smiling woman they said was Neda, some calling her Iran's Joan of Arc.