(Vancouver Sun) | April 3, 2010
By Jessica Barrett, Canwest News Service

METRO VANCOUVER — One death became a symbol of the bloody student uprising following Iran’s disputed presidential elections last June.

And now Caspian Makan, the fianc? of slain student Neda Agha-Soltan, is coming to North Vancouver to speak about the plight still facing political dissidents in his homeland.

Makan is scheduled to appear at the Centennial Theatre tomorrow night as part of a gala celebrating Norouz, the Persian New Year, which will also feature music, dance, visual art, comedy and exiled Iranian poet Hussein Sharang.

The event is part of a two-week exhibition of Iranian art and film organized by the North Vancouver-based Neda For Freedom Society, a not-for-profit organization committed to increasing awareness of human rights abuses in Iran.

“(Makan) is calling himself the messenger of peace and he’s using Neda and his relationship with her to achieve that,” said Neda For Freedom’s Mehrdad Rahbar. He added that his group was named after Agha-Soltan — Neda means voice or calling in Farsi.

Agha-Soltan, 27, was shot in the heart by reported government police agents during a student demonstration in Tehran on June 20, 2009.

The protest was a response to the dubious victory of hardline president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad over his more liberal competitor Mir-Hossein Mousavi earlier that month.

Caf? owner Tyler Russell said he offered up his business as a venue for the show after meeting some Persian artists a few months ago.

“We all knew what was going on at the time and the protests that went on last summer after the election and repressions that came along with that. . . . So I said, if you guys know anybody in Iran who really wants to show their work but can’t because of the conditions, let them know that they have a welcome venue here.”

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