The fiancé of a woman whose shooting death on the streets of Tehran was seen online by people around the world is coming to North Vancouver to talk about the reality political prisoners face in Iran.

Caspian Makan was engaged to Neda Agha Soltan, a university student who was shot to death during a rally protesting the allegedly fraudulent Iranian election last summer.

Her death, which was captured on a cellphone video and posted on YouTube, galvanized the Persian community and made Neda the face of the campaign for freedom, peace and democracy in Iran.

Makan will be speaking at the North Vancouver Centennial Theatre on Saturday as part of the Norooz Arts Variety Show, a celebration of Persian art banned in Iran for being undemocratic or critical of the regime.


The festival includes comedy, poetry, music, dance, film and fine art and is being organized by the Neda For Freedom Society, a local non-profit human rights groups.

“Neda’s fiancé is a highlight (of the festival),” said organizer Mehrdad Rahbar. “He’s been travelling since he was released (from prison) in Iran.”

Rahbar said the unrest in Iran has fuelled a new wave of arts culture in that country, which has to exist underground until it’s given an outlet in the West.

“Art is the main drive behind progressive movements. We want artists to take a leadership role in the movement.”

Rahbar added that just because Iran isn’t getting the media attention it did last summer, it doesn’t mean the unrest has subsided.

“We’re trying to broaden our audience to get the message out to non-Iranians, so Iran gets support from the West … and the rest of the world knows what’s going on.”