Imagine going to jail for nine years for a crime you didn’t commit. Then imagine getting released when the real perpetrator finally comes clean and admits to the crime: stabbing a man who almost died. Oh, and the real perpetrator? He just happens to be your brother.
The person who can imagine that scenario most vividly is 35-year-old Kian Katibi—because he lived it. Katibi, who was released from prison three years ago, is among the thousands of undergraduates receiving a bachelor’s degree from New York University at Yankee Stadium today, the (N.Y) Daily News reports. President Clinton will deliver the commencement speech, and Katibi’s family will be there to cheer him on—minus, of course, his despicable brother, who, naturally, is persona non grata.
Khatibi was 22 when a disturbance broke out at a bar in Pleasantville, Westchester County, and he was ordered to leave.
His brother, Kayvan, was also in the watering hole, but the two were not together.
A man was stabbed in the street outside and almost died, and another patron was injured.
Both victims testified that Khatibi had attacked them, and he was sentenced to seven to 14 years behind bars, never aware his sibling was the real perpetrator.
He was released from prison in 2008. The years since have been trying, as he worked to finish his school and fought the bitterness about the years he lost.
“You’re launched into this cruel but beautiful world,” Khatibi said. “It’s a new beginning, and it was wonderful but hurt at the same time.”
His brother, meanwhile, could not be tried for his crime because a five-year statute of limitations had expired. Not surprisingly, Khatibi is estranged from his brother.
Khatibi, who was a media, culture and communications major at NYU, now plans to attend law school and possibly become a civil rights or public service attorney.
“You can never get back the time you lose, but I’ve tried to work harder so I can make the best out of a bad situation,” he said. “I can’t say where I’d be if this didn’t happen, but I’m going to keep going forward.”
With all due respect to President Clinton, somebody should have asked Khatibi to give the commencement speech for NYU today. After all, he knows better than most about the meaning of “commencement,” which is “beginning.”
(Photo: Daily News)