Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cops query political angle in activist murder

Islamic Jihad suspected in gun slaying

Houston – When Officer J.C. Padilla arrived, the car's engine was still running, its wheels spinning on the pavement. He had to reach inside and shut off the motor.

Slumped at the wheel, the driver sat dead, a victim of a gunshot.

Minutes before, Gelareh Bagherzadeh, 30, an Iranian molecular genetic technology student at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, had been chatting with an ex-boyfriend on her cell phone when the man heard a thud and the line went dead.

A well-known leader in the fight for Iranian women's rights, the woman had just arrived home in the posh neighborhood west of I-610. Her purse and cell phone were still in the car.

Homicide Sergeant Richard Bolton told newsmen that his detail is reviewing video surveillance footage of the area in a search for clues as to the attacker's identity.

Police believe the murder is connected to the political conflict between men and women of the Islamic faith over women's rights.

According to police spokesman Victor Senties, "It appears she was one of the ones who would be out protesting, and she was very well known in the Iranian women's rights community because she was constantly out protesting."

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