Iran launches probe into prison death of blogger

November 11, 2012 4:42 pm


Reporters Sans Frontieres activists take part in a protest in front of an Iran Air agency in Paris in July to denounce journalists’ imprisonment in Iran/AFP
TEHRAN, Nov 11 – Parliament has launched a probe into the death in detention of an Iranian blogger and will make its report public, the ISNA news agency on Sunday cited deputy speaker Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi as saying.

Opposition activists say blogger Sattar Beheshti, 35, was tortured to death in prison for criticising Iran’s regime on the Internet.

“The national security commission is aware of this case and has begun an investigation,” Abutorabi was quoted as saying.

“I have asked the head of the commission, Aladin Borujerdi, to inform parliamentarians and the public once the investigation is completed,” he added.
According to opposition groups, Beheshti’s family was asked on November 7 to collect his body from the Kahrizak detention centre in Tehran, where he had been held since being arrested at the end of October after criticising the government on the Internet.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in July 2009 ordered the temporary closure of the Kahrizak detention centre after three inmates died following mistreatment by guards.

Several of its officials were prosecuted.

Beheshti, in the last blog he wrote before his arrest, had said he was being constantly harassed by members of the security services phoning him.

“Yesterday they threatened to tell my mother that she would soon be wearing black if I did not shut up,” he wrote in one post.

France and the United States last week called on Iran to investigate the circumstances of Beheshti’s death after rights group Amnesty International said he may have died under torture.

“Iranian authorities must immediately carry out an independent investigation into his death, including whether torture played a part in it,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.

“Fears that Sattar Beheshti died as a result of torture in an Iranian detention facility, after apparently lodging a complaint about torture are very plausible, given Iran’s track record when it comes to deaths in custody,” she added.

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