News / Europe

Questions Linger about Iranian Blogger's Death

Undated photo of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti posted on the Iranian opposition website Kaleme.com.  (photo credit: www.kaleme.com)Undated photo of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti posted on the Iranian opposition website Kaleme.com. (photo credit: www.kaleme.com)
x
Undated photo of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti posted on the Iranian opposition website Kaleme.com.  (photo credit: www.kaleme.com)
Undated photo of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti posted on the Iranian opposition website Kaleme.com. (photo credit: www.kaleme.com)
Iranian opposition website Kaleme has published testimony, reported to be signed by 41 prisoners at Iran's Evin prison's infamous ward 350 saying they saw blogger Sattar Beheshti after he had been tortured at the police station. Beheshti died while in custody of Iranian officials.

The report quotes eyewitnesses saying Beheshti told them he had been severely beaten, hanged by his wrists from the ceiling, pushed to the ground and kicked in the head, and also repeatedly threatened to be killed. Eyewitnesses added that his head was swollen, parts of his body bruised and effects of hanging were apparent on his wrists.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department demanded Iranian authorities investigate the apparent murder of Sattar Beheshti, an Iranian blogger who died while in custody earlier this week.

"We are appalled by reports that Iranian authorities tortured and killed blogger and activist Sattar Beheshti during a prison interrogation," said State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland in a statement released Friday. "Besheshti had been arrested for a crime no greater than expressing his political opinion online."

France and Britain are calling on Iran to explain the death in detention of an anti-government blogger who opposition activists say had been tortured.

"We join the international community in demanding the Iranian government investigate this murder, hold accountable those responsible for Beheshti's arrest, torture, and killing, and immediately cease all reported harassment of Beheshti’s family," the U.S. statement read, adding that Beheshti is "just one of thousands of victims of the Iranian government's campaign of violent repression and efforts to curtail basic freedoms at all costs."

Activists say Sattar Beheshti, 35, was arrested in his home in late October, and that his family was asked on Wednesday to pick up his body from a detention center in Tehran.

In his last posting before being arrested, Beheshti wrote that security services had threatened him -- saying his mother "would soon be wearing black" if he continued speaking out.

Officials in France and Britain said they were shocked by reports of Beheshti's death. The British Foreign Office said it appeared to be another attempt to crush any form of free expression in Iran.

Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said cases like Beheshti's are not uncommon.

"Our organization has documented at least 17 deaths of political prisoners inside Iranian prisons since 2003," he said. "There is no doubt Beheshti was taken to custody, died within less than a week, and his body is already buried without allowing family to have access to it or have an autopsy performed."

He added that the facts of the case were irrefutable and that if the death had been due to natural causes, Iranian authorities could have easily proven it by allowing an autopsy.

Human rights groups Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders are also calling on Iran to release details of his death.

Iranian officials have not commented on his detention or cause of death. Beheshti's sister, Fatima, told Voice of America's Persian News Network that her brother did not have any history of illnesses.

Mansour Haghighatpour, a member of parliament and deputy head of the national security commission told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) that there was no need for his commission to get involved and that he is certain that those responsible will address the matter.

A lawyer in Tehran told VOA he had no doubts about what happened to Beheshti.

"Beheshti was under the custody of the cyber police (FATA), and since he was not a famous person, they probably mistreated him with no of fear punishment," he said. "And once it got really bad, they transferred him to the prison to avoid any responsibility. I think this is similar to the story of Zahra Kazemi."

Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photographer, was arrested in Iran in 2003 and later died while in custody.The case was widely reported around the world.

Another Iranian, who lives in a city outside of Tehran, told VOA he had doubts about the reports of Beheshti's death and did not have a good feeling about how it all has unravelled.

An Iranian journalist, writing on Facebook said that Ahmadi Moghaddam, head of police and the head of FATA (cyber police), "do not deserve their positions. They must be removed so that the root of these atrocities are removed."

The journalist later told VOA that when these cases happen, the regime stands behind those responsible instead of condemning them and that this "makes the Iranian people believe they approve of these atrocities."

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Noma from: Philippines
November 11, 2012 8:45 PM
This kind of news isn't new, perhaps it's getting worse. The real problem here is the system itself, politics somehow is indeed making its way to the top trying to manipulate people almost in every way. Torturing a man to the point of intentionally killing him simply because he is smart enough is of no doubt an act out of cowardice. On the other hand, regardless how people keep criticizing Iranian authorities because of this another cruelty, it's still their prerogative as to how they wanted to run their country. The only consolation we could have here is to be more aggressive in airing out to put those responsible behind bars.

In Response

by: H from: world
November 13, 2012 4:10 AM
I have to point out that the government of Iran is an illegitimate one which was not elected by the Iranian people so they do not have any rights to do anything in Iran. Even if they were legitimate they no right to torture and kill people specially in the name of religion.
It is high time we all as human beings begin to feel the plight of the Iranian people and their struggle to obtain simple freedom and justice which is everyone's right.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid