Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked to learn of the death two days ago of the netizen Sattar Beheshti, six days after he was arrested and taken into custody in Tehran. His family learned of the tragic news in a message to his mother asking her to collect the body the next day. Beheshti was believed to have died under torture while he was being interrogated.
Reporters Without Borders urges the Iranian authorities to clarify the exact circumstances of the netizen’s death and calls on the international community not to allow this crime to go unpunished.
“The Tehran government is an egregious example of the triumph of impunity,” the press freedom organization said. “Up to now, no-one responsible for the deaths in detention of any journalists or netizens has been brought to justice.
“We ask that the special UN rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, be allowed to enter Iran to conduct an independent investigation into this death and other similar cases.”
Beheshti, a 35-year-old worker and political activist, was arrested at his home on 30 October by the FTA, Iran’s cyber police, for “actions against national security on social networks and Facebook”, before being taken to an unknown location. Security officers seized his computer. Beheshti was known to the police and had already been arrested during the student riots in 2002.
According to information received by Reporters Without Borders, the family came under pressure to bury the body quickly and was ordered under threat not to inform the media.
The 54-year-old Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi also died under torture while in detention in Iran, on 10 July 2003. She had been arrested on June 23 June while she was photographing the families of inmates outside Evin prison.
The blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi, arrested on 7 February 2009, died on 18 March 2009 in disturbing circumstances.
Hoda Saber, the 52-year-old former editor of Iran-e-Farda imprisoned in August 2010, died of a heart attack the following year. According fellow prisoners in block 350 at Evin prison, “the prison authorities did not do what was necessary to transfer him to hospital in time, and he was mistreated by the staff of the Evin prison infirmary”.
The journalist had begun a hunger strike on 2 June 2011 in protest against the tragic death of fellow journalist Haleh Sahabi after she was physically attacked by an intelligence ministry official at the funeral of her father, opposition politician Ezatollah Sahabi.