Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Iranian Activist Mysterious Death

HOUSTON, TX (HC) - Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30, was shot to death around midnight Monday in the parking area behind the townhome at 894 Augusta Drive where she lived with her parents. She was a student in molecular genetics technology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and was an organizer of Sabz-Houston, an organization calling for political change in Iran.
Born in Mashhad, Iran, she was prominent for her activism in demanding a regime change in Iran in 2010 and rights for women in her native country. Websites devoted to that cause ran accounts of her death Monday and Tuesday.
The mystery of Bagherzadeh’s death deepened Tuesday, when Houston police revealed they first responded to a shots-fired call in that block about 11:45 p.m. Sunday but found no evidence of a shooting and left the scene.
About 45 minutes later, they received another call that a shooting had just occurred at Bagherzadeh’s address. Officers arrived to find her slumped behind the wheel of her Nissan Altima, the car crashed into a garage door, its wheels still spinning. Authorities told ABC-13 that the tires had been worn down to their steel tread. It appeared she had been shot through the passenger-side window. Parademics pronounced her dead at the scene.
"Gelareh was one beautiful soul, kind, happy and full of love," one friend said. "Gelareh was a determined activist against Iranian government, seeking freedom for her fellow countrymen." Another friend said Bagherzedeh "was a beautiful and fun girl, and she was working towards a career where she could she could be the one to save lives, we love you Gail."
Bagherzadeh participated in protests against the Iranian government in 2010 and was among those calling for a change in the current regime as demonstrators in Tehran pushed for revolution. At the time, she, like other outspoken protesters, requested that her last name not be used in a Houston Chronicle online video because she feared persecution.
"We want change and we want freedom in our country," she said in the video. She was an organizing member of SabzHouston, a group that pushed for political change in Iran. Bagherzadeh was prominent among Iranian women.
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