Monday, June 24, 2019 11:40

MPs hear report on death of jailed blogger

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Sattar Beheshti

Iranian Parliament’s national security commission read its report on the death of detained blogger Sattar Beheshti in custody and called for a special probe into the case and prosecution of the culprits.

ISNA reports that on Sunday January 6, the report, which was read in Parliament with some omissions according to some critics, confirms that the blogger had bruises and inflammation on his face, leg and back, and adds that “the most likely cause of death was shock brought on by a blow or blows to sensitive parts of the body or mental distress.”

Sattar Beheshti, an Iranian blogger, was arrested by Iran’s Cyber Police on October 30 and charged with “propaganda against the regime” for his blogs criticizing government policies. He died after five days in custody.

While in jail, he reportedly made an official complaint about his mistreatment by the authorities, and a group of prisoners testified after his death that they had seen signs of torture on his body.

Ali Motahari, an outspoken Tehran MP, said today that he had met with the Beheshti family and, based on his interview of the family and the investigations, he believes that Sattar Beheshti was arrested without a proper warrant from the judiciary, suggesting violations were committed by the cyber police.

Since Iranian authorities identified internet activities as an important front in the so called ”soft war” against the Islamic Republic, the new cyber police have been gaining powers and appear to be bypassing the judicial system in their efforts to control web activity.

The case of Sattar Beheshti has revealed conflicts between the usual security networks and the rapidly growing cyber police. The head of Tehran cyber police, General Mohammad Hassan Shokrian, was dismissed for “failure and lack of sufficient supervision over the performance of personnel under his command.” In addition, three Cyber Police officers are under arrest in connection with Beheshti’s death.