Ahmad Batebi

po_Batebi-AhmadAhmad Batebi (born July 25, 1977) is an Iranian activist who was designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. During his studies at the University of Tehran he gained international fame for his appearance on the July 17, 1999 cover of The Economist magazine, holding up a shirt splattered with the blood of a fellow protester.

The photo, which has been called “an icon for Iran’s student reform movement”, was taken during the Iranian Student Protests in July 1999 in Tehran. Following its publishing, Batebi was arrested, tried in closed-door proceedings, found guilty of “creating street unrest”, and sentenced to death.

This was reduced to 15 years after domestic and international outcry. Less well-known are persistent reports of torture and ill-treatment of Batebi in prison, and his resulting poor physical and mental health. While temporarily released from prison to receive medical attention, Batebi was assisted by the KDPI, to flee Iran for Iraq. He finally entered the United States on June 24, 2008 on humanitarian parole. He was then granted asylum status by the United States government.